Math Whiz

Truman’s teacher at school wanted us to have him tested for gifted and talented because she saw higher-order thinking processes in him.

“Higher order thinking (HOT) is thinking on a level that is higher than memorizing facts or telling something back to someone exactly the way it was told to you. HOT takes thinking to higher levels than restating the facts and requires students to do something with the facts — understand them, infer from them, connect them to other facts and concepts, categorize them, manipulate them, put them together in new or novel ways, and apply them as we seek new solutions to new problems.” [http://www.readingrockets.org/article/how-increase-higher-order-thinking]

Tru’s teacher helped me understand this with a simple example of her son.
There was a field fire and Ms. Holley commented to her son, “Wow. That is a really big fire.”
Son, “I wonder what happens to the earth worms in the fire.”
Ms. Holley had expected someone his age to respond with, “The firemen better come quick.” or something like that.

I’m still understanding what this means, but I think it’s super interesting. Sometimes Truman comes up with things that are fascinating to me. Things he calculates at his age. And questions he comes up with.

For example:

Telling Time
Last year – age 5 – Truman was waking up too early.
He came in and we told him he couldn’t watch tv until 7.
It was 6:37.
Within seconds he said, “That is in 23 minutes.”
I had this wild feeling that this was extraordinary for his age.
Probably because I have to think and process 60-37=23 to figure it out.
But his mind computes it so quickly, like it’s natural.

Days until birthday
Today Truman – age 6 – was begging me to buy a membership to Club Penguin.
I told him that if he wanted it, we could buy a 1-month membership on his birthday.
I told him since it’s February, his birthday is in 8 months.
5 minutes later, he came downstairs and said that his birthday was in 240 days.

I found this calculation on the internet because I wanted to see how close he was:
250 days

I asked him how he figured that out.
He said he counted on his fingers by 30s.
Way to think outside the box.
8 months x 30 days/month = 240

Anyhoo… I just wanted to note Truman’s way of thinking.
I wonder if many of his behavioral hard times are because he’s bored.
He doesn’t think or focus the way I do, so perhaps he needs different stimulus and education.

a little about Truman

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Truman’s Kindergarten class has been preparing for the upcoming Thanksgiving Feast by making Native American and Pilgrim costumes. He even had a papoose. Interesting for a male native. But creative.

He also had to disguise a turkey. He chose to dress it up like a rainbow. He did very careful coloring… which is a big deal for Tru.

This week we went on a walk to the duck pond and park. The leaves have started to fall. Tru was hoping to be buried in leaves by his siblings. They got him mostly buried and he burst forth in delight.

This morning when I was combing Tru’s hair, he was making faces in the mirror. He showed me his bored face. He showed me his angry face. I asked him about his happy face and he said, “I don’t know how to do happy.” Insightful comment coming from Truman. I reminded him of a funny joke and he soon found his happy face. He can’t fake emotion. He only displays what he feels, I guess.

Truman has adjusted pretty well to all-day kindergarten here in Texas. The first few days he immediately fell asleep in the car after school got out at 3. It does make for a long day when we rise at 6, leave home at 7, arrive at 8… and then have school until 3, wait for Hannah to be done with basketball until 5 and then drive home to arrive at 6. We are moving in the next week or so and hopefully he’ll adjust to sleeping in. The kids only have 1 recess which is right before lunch so they have an intense day of learning and little play. It has been a change from Utah Kindergarten which is half day with 3 recesses.

Jimmy and I have been prayerful about what we can do to best help Truman meet his potential and function happily in his life. He is brilliant at Math and has such precision of speech and thoughts. He shares many insightful things with us in his tender moments. He is strong in so many ways.

In fact… yesterday we had him clean out under his bed. I asked him to move his bed back in place (it’s on wheels on a hard wood floor and is really slick to move). He said, “My bed is strong. And I am weak.” We had a great conversation about how Heavenly Father made him strong … physically and spiritually. I showed him that he could move his bed and then we talked about how we can be strong in doing what is right. There is such hope for Truman. We love him dearly and hope he can resolve and work through some of his specific life challenges with God’s love and strength.

Hannah’s a Teen!

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It’s true… we now have an official teenager in our family. Hannah celebrated her 13th birthday here in Texas. A few friends and teachers at school knew it was her birthday and made it fun for her. Her orchestra class even played Happy Birthday for her!

Girl’s athletics seems to be one of her favorite classes because it is an environment to get to know the girls. Plus, they are nice. Hannah has been super brave through this transition of moving to Texas. We’ve had some tearful times, but she has done well making efforts to be positive. The young women in the ward have been very welcoming. She has lunch with Sage but most of the other girls in the ward are on a different lunch schedule.

Hannah is playing the violin in orchestra and seems to be learning it quickly. I enjoy hearing her practice. The littles love when she helps them play it. She is a music natural and evidenced in her piano skills. Hannah is also in an art class and has learned quickly to learn about self portraits. I’m amazed at how well she draws eyes, noses and lips. What a girl!

Hannah is a delight in our family. She helps us laugh and smile and have fun together. We joke that the only thing she has to work on is humility, because she really is just so fantastic.

Love you Hannah girl.

oh – the birthday… oops. Early day… left at 7… got to school by 8. Waited around until her school started at 8:45. School. Drive 40 minutes home. Arrive at 4:30. Dinner date with dad to a real steak place “outback”. Birthday celebration with the fam.

Presents. Especially meaningful present from Abe who wrote a fantastic poem for her. It made us all smile. She also got a charm bracelet with meaningful charms from Grandma Price. New Scripture tote in mint and yellow. Michael Vey book #5 that just came out. Some girly polish and candy, etc.

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Cake: Hannah saw an icecream bar cake on pinterest so she put that together nicely. Icecream bars, cool whip, and crushed oreos on top. We light a match we had for a sad-sorry candle… that Eliza blew out! Take 2 for Hannah.

End of the School Year

2015-05-may1-webWow… the end of the school year is busy-crazy-busy. Why must they shove everything into one month. Final projects, graduations, more final projects, more graduations. And my kids aren’t even out of elementary school! But many of these events have been fantastic experiences in one way or another.

Abe earned his Arrow of Light for cub Scouts. He has worked so hard on these requirements. It takes many to keep things going in scouts. Today is his 11th birthday. Grandma & Grandpa gave him a Pogo-Stick. We all gave it a try last night and boy-howdy was it fun. Haven’t seen a smile that big on Jimmy in a while. Abe enjoys laughing and playing with friends. He is so talented as a builder of Legos. I believe he’ll grow up to enjoy engineering or something of the sort someday. He has a tender heart and a great soul. The past bit, he’s been willing to play minecraft and let Truman and Max watch. They love that!

On that same night Truman graduated from preschool. Jimmy attended that event, but I saw the cute videos and pictures. What a delight! He said, “Hi, my name is Truman and I’m 5 1/2. When I grow up, I want to be a dad!” He has a great little soul deep inside! We’ve perhaps had the hardest 6 months with behavior and aggression with this kiddo. Challenges… and lots of “stretching opportunities” as parents. But when we see the real Truman shine, we know there are great things in store for this strong leader.

Hannah had a time machine presentation/skit. She was the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi, “the Goddess of wealth, love, prosperity (both material and spiritual), fortune, and the embodiment of beauty.” We spent oodles of time on her costume. She is more of a perfectionist than I am, if it’s possible. She loves the extra mile! It turned out fantastic though. After school I told her she had to be done being a glorious goddess and start being a worker bee. It takes the entire family doing their part for us to survive these days. She definitely pulls her own weight … plus covers for the others who don’t. I tear up at the thought of her growing up and away. Boo… but Hurray!!! for her, too.

Scotty learned to crawl for reals (graduated from inch worm!) today. He loves going under the table. Our floor is definitely not baby proof. We need to mop … and sweep … and sweep some more… crumbs galore. He reminds me of a puppy because he is always crawling under everything to get to the cords to chew on… only he’s not quite as fast as a puppy yet. I feel this boy has energy… waiting to be unleashed as soon as he is confident in his mobility. He has a cheerful disposition which might save him… he seems to gain energy from people (extrovert) and cheers hearts wherever he goes.

Max… favorite thing about Max lately is his Polynesian Warrior Dance for the school dance festival. He loved it. I loved attending that event. So great to see the kids learn new dances. Abe did an African Dance. Hannah actually held a boy’s hand (andrew) and did the swing. They were pretty great at keeping the rhythm.

Eliza… oh eliza… she is the queen of drama (I won’t let the kids say it to her… but it’s true). She gets hurt about 20 times a day and comes wailing to mama. We focus on courage. “God made you strong, Eliza. He gave you courage.” She is also a delight and says super funny things that I wish I could catch on video. Her latest is that instead of having to go potty, she says, “I am wiggling, mom.” Today she said, “I don’t want to go home.” I told her that dad was at home. “Oh, I love dad. But, I love you too mom. I love you too.” She has a darling high pitched 3-year-old voice. She’s Miss Bossy and has a bit of spice in her. Gotta hold her own, I suppose.

The weather is dull to comment on. But it’s significant! RAIN! Green everywhere! Rain! Love it. We’ve had more rain this May than in the past 3 Mays combined. I’m hoping some of the water restrictions will be lifted so we can have green grass and a plentiful garden this year. We live in a beautiful place. The ponds, the skies, the mountains… especially when green… are so amazingly wondrous.

Jimmy. Oh, my love! He works so hard for our family. He digs the dandelions out of the lawn. It is looking fantastic. And … drum-roll… He finally found a new job that seems like a good fit. He worked for the LDS Church for nearly 7 1/2 years. We’ve wanted to move East for the past year or so but none of the jobs have panned out… not in Maryland… not in North Carolina (that was my winter dream location), not in Texas (Jimmy always wants to move to Texas). He applied for a job on LinkedIn with Treehouse Interactive (changing name soon to ImPartner), a small company that was just bought out for 17 million… and is expected to grow rapidly in the next 4 years). He’s always wanted to work for a small company and we feel like this is the least-risky way to go as far as small companies. I’m so grateful for the work experience and associations and growth Jimmy had working at the church. So grateful! It was a splendid time for many things. He grew so much. And though it’s time to move on (and though I’ll miss DMBA insurance … and free SLC office building parking), I hope this is another new learning experience that will provide new opportunities.

As for Heather. This is perhaps the hardest year of my life. Many challenges and mountains to climb. Health… parenting aggressive and disrespectful boys … so many who need all at once… physical tiredness from children pushing on my body (“Yes, I must be old” said the 39-year-old mother of 6 under 12), learning life’s spiritual lessons and how to apply gospel principles to challenging situations. But we receive many blessings. Many blessings are given to us daily and I seek to see these tender mercies. Quiet hour after tots go to bed is a tender mercy and time for rejuvenation. Good, happy moments as a family! A good spouse. Good kiddos who are trying. God is good to us.

How to make Tomato Juice


Miss Hannah tried out the new blendtec birthday gift to make me some fresh tomato juice.
My favorite part is when she says “Worcestershire sauce” because who ever knows how to say that.
This girl is a delight.

Collecting Germs … & going the extra mile

Oh truman…
what a month we’ve had with his ups and downs.

can’t help but just love this kid so much though.

he’s into watching Ruff-Ruff-Man on Netflix during his lunch/quiet time.
He begs me to sit and watch it with him.
One day we watched the episode when the kids collect germs to study under a telescope.
They collected germs from the kitchen sink, toilet, toilet seat, phone, fish bowl.
(kitchen sink and toilet seat were the worst!!)

Later when I asked Truman to do his chores he said,

“hey mom…
collecting germs
is a good idea.”
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“i collected some germs
cleaning the microwave.”

alrighty then. good work buddy.
thank you for disinfecting the microwave!

Another thing to mention is that Jimmy started the Extra Mile fhe-finale prize bucket.
If the kids or parents noted one another going the extra mile, they could pick a prize.
Tru’s favorite was the tiny packs of m&ms.
He can keep track all week long (accurately!!!) of the times he goes the extra mile.
He asks if what he has done can count and he’ll tally up to 12-15 times.
Note to self … Truman enjoys keeping track of progress and success.

The other episode of Ruff-Ruff-Man he wanted me to watch was when the Blue Man Group showed some cool art and music tricks.
Tru and I have spent lots of time together lately. It seems he doesn’t like anyone to do anything for him, unless it’s mom.
This is tricky … and hard. But we’re working through it.

One thing I have enjoyed is tucking Tru into bed. Even though it’s a long process sometimes, I’ve liked the change.
First we read books. He loves 5 little monkeys jump on the bed series… The Going to Bed Book…
The diggingest dog, Liang and the magic paintbrush, the pokey little puppy, the little red hen,
oh … and the favorite for the month has to be the If you Give a mouse a Cookie series.
He even took “if you give a moose a muffin” and “if you take a mouse to the movies” and “are you my mother”
to preschool for show-n-tell M day since they each had 2 M’s in the title.

Then a prayer and song (Families can be Together Forever … every single night).
And then he likes me to lay by him until he falls asleep.
Some nights we can swing this… other nights, I can only stay 5 minutes.

I sure love Tru and hope that we can help him grow into the wonderful leader he has the potential to be!

A righteous man!

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After looking through our new ‘Have I ever Told You?’ Heritage edition (specifically after reading about my dad) , Max asked,

“Mom, do you think I’ll be a righteous man when I grow up?”
My answer: “Yes!”
I love that this connection to those who came before encourages my Maxwell to want to be righteous.

I believe one of Max’s spiritual gifts is being a missionary. This kid will have enthusiasm for sharing the gospel. The past few weeks he has spent hours and hours reading the children’s scripture stories. He finished New Testament, Old Testament, Doctrine & Covenants and is now nearing the end of the Book of Mormon. He loves the scripture heroes and stories.

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p.s. perhaps not the best to note this after such a positive memory about my fantastic Max, but i suppose it ought to be noted. A report came home from school (via brother Abe) that max had punched a friend in the stomach. And … sigh… it was true. Max said the little boy didn’t understand what he was saying so he got mad and punched him. Oh dear. I wouldn’t have believed it one bit except that Max confirmed that it happened. Soooooo not the Max I know! My Max wouldn’t do such a thing… sigh… what Max was this?! . . . . . . Max sometimes wonders out loud what it would be like to be a prophet when he grows up. I’m sure if God has that in mind for him, He will rise to the task. But for now, this mother has her work cut out for her teaching repentance and kindness… so that it sinks deep into the heart of this little boy. A written apology is in order for him this week.

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p.p.s. doesn’t this kid have a rockin’ sense of style. those socks are not knee socks. he just loves to pull them up even though the heel comes out of his shoe. whenever i question him about coordinating colors, he just can’t understand why i would care about that. “It doesn’t matter, mom.” I love that he’s confident in his own style!

Grooviest Girl

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hannah came bounding down the stairs with a cheerful hilarious comment:
“hey mom, even with braces marcia brady was still the grooviest looking girl at school, according to alan.”

true story.

Miss Hannah now has braces on top (October) & bottom (December).
She looks darling. She has purple & turquoise rubber bands right now.
She’s the grooviest tween girl in our family!
She made this cheese ball on her own to share at young women’s.
And she did her own fishtail braid.
This girl is going places!
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Words from Eliza

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mom: “eliza, Heavenly Father made you brave.
You can do hard things even if it’s scary.”
eliza with big tears in her eyes: “I don’t wike bwave.”
mom: “no, honey. it’s not the movie Brave. It’s about having courage to do hard things.”
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mom: “Eliza. You need to be more teachable.”
eliza: “NO. I NOT teachable. I am EEEEEliza.”
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abe: “Liza, you are a drama queen!”
eliza: “I NOT a queen, I am drama PRINCESS. I AM a princess.”
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True Stories.

p.s. I cut Liza’s hair a few weeks ago. It was so tangled all the time and she quite refuses to let us brush it. I got her a Wet Brush for Christmas and it is totally great and gentle but she still doesn’t like us to brush her hair. Sigh…

p.p.s. all she was wearing under her snowpants and coat was a thin blue ballet outfit. and see the jelly shoes. Somebody convince this girl that it’s not summer anymore! oh liza!

Max-isms

Tonight at bed I asked Max if he was planning on wearing his sweats backwards.
We chuckled together as he turned them around.
He said, “How do parents always know when we have things on backwards?”
I answered, “We must just be so amazing!”
Max replied, “It’s like you’re Albert Einstein or something.”

oh max.

Also, the past week or so, Max has requested America the Beautiful for bedtime song.
After I sing it, he asks things like,
“What are purple mountains majesty?”
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“Wait, how does it start?”
Oh beautiful for Spacious Skies.
“Oh yeah, I think I know what Spacious skies are”
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“What are fruited plains?”
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It was fun to explain to him about each one so he could imagine it when he hears that song.
Aren’t kids so great… learning things for the first time, fresh lessons and discoveries!
Love that about childhood!