t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


California Dreaming

Enjoying the warm breeze at Laguna Beach

We spent a wonderful week with Brent’s uncle and his wife in Mission Viejo, California. Emmett loving referred to the family as “Uncle.” “Daddy, are we going back to Uncle’s house?”
Lounging by the pool.  Brent and his mom enjoy the shade, the girls enjoy their trinkets from Disneyland.
 Our drive out, went without hitch.  In fact, Brent and I didn’t really hear from Berkeley the entire 11 hours.  Beyond the classic “How much longer?” and “Are we there yet?”  queries, the kids were fantastic. 

“Uncle’s” backyard was a five-star resort, as far as we were concerned.  Our entire family stayed occupied enjoying putting, hot tubbing, swimming, lounging, basketball, pool, barbecues and more. 

Emmett looking ultra cool as he poses on the waterfall.
 Brent and I were measuring the entire time to see if we could possibly create the same wonderland in our own backyard.  Unfortunately, the tape measure at home dashed the plans.  Not enough space.  Or sun.  We do live in the tundra here.  Yesterday averaged barely 50 degrees.

Sunday we attended the Saddleback Church with Brent's uncle.  It is one of the largest mega churches in the nation.  The campus was amazing, akin to Temple Square for LDS folks, in size and scope.  We enjoyed the sermon on parenting.  It was uplifting and very practical.  We gawked at their beautiful baptismal font, wishing we could swap it for ours.  Ellery will be baptized on Saturday, but it won't be outside with waterfalls, and stone ornamentation. 

I appreciated experiencing a Sunday from another perspective.  It helps me understand and embrace my own.  Brent's Aunt and Uncle are God-fearing, Christians, of whom I have the utmost respect.  I wanted to absorb all the goodness that seemed to just pour out of them.  They are true examples of discipleship.  We talked of parenting and our children.  Challenges and life. They had so many gems of wisdom to share.
Enjoying a little put-put.  I can claim the reigning champ title.

Two days of our trip found us touring Southern California.  My California-bred husband still can't seem to embrace the cold, dreary, Utah winters.  I have to admit, we have had some long ones recently.  We love so much about living in Utah, but there is a portion of both of us, that itches for change.  So we explored.  It was enlightening.  We saw many things we didn't love and many we did. 

No decisions have been made.  But we were happy to see what is available and what steps we may need to take to make the move if we so desire.

 Another portion of the trip brought us to Disneyland to celebrate Ellery's birthday.  Mimi flew in and met us there. 

 In case you didn't know: You can fit four children into a Chariot Carrier. And wow, did it save us time and tears!  Brent hustled those kids along, like a man on a mission.  We certainly drew quite a few comments from onlookers.

We ended our trip in Las Vegas for the night to visit Brent's sister Julie and her family.  We saw their new home, and had a quick, but worthwhile visit. 


Eight Year Old Treasure

Enjoying a Birthday Volcano at the Rainforest Cafe

 Ellery is 8 Years Old!

To celebrate a very exciting 8 year birthday, we took Ellery and the family to California and Disneyland.  I think it was a dream day for this sweet little girl.  She woke up to streamers and presents (totally unexpected because we were guests in Brent's Uncle's home).

We promptly left for Disneyland and spent a full day riding rides, browsing shops, snuggling with siblings, and being doted on by Mimi.

What impresses me most about Ellery is her confidence.  Today she started team gymnastics.  Her skills were far below the other members.  She spent a grueling 3 hours keeping up.  If it were me, I would have cried.  But she left in high spirits.  What a girl.

What endears me most to Ellery is her kind heart.  She never shys away from a hug or kiss or I love you.  She is diligent in watching over her brother and sisters.  Ellery often cleans her room as a surprise for me.  She has a passion for history, and would listen to me read about classical civilizations for days on end if we could.

In her own words:

Favorite Book:  The Little Princess by Frances Hodgkins Burnett

Favorite Books to Read:  The Little House series, especially These Happy Golden Years and The First Four Years.

What I want to Become:  An actress.  Sing and do plays.

Favorite Activity with Friends:  Playing "night games."

Best Part of School:  History, learning about ancient people in China, Russia, Egypt, Greece...

Best thing to do with Family:  Going on trips to places with pools and playing outside in the yard.

Thing you get most excited about:  When Mimi or Grandma comes.

Favorite song on piano: Vivace

Favorite song on flute:  Colors of the Wind

Something Scary:  Big Dogs

Something you look forward to when older:  College.  But I don't really want to grow up.

Something you worry about:  When someones voice sounds really worried.

Best Memory:  Disneyland was really, really different.  It was much bigger than now.  There was a pink gateway.  We stayed with Mimi and Papa.  We saw the princesses.  Mimi and Papa's house was different.


Looking for a Nanny?? Here's Your Girl!

My little sister Monica is on the lookout for a part-time nannying job.  She is 22 years old and very responsible.  She is also fun and infectious.

Here is her information. . .

School:  Currently a BYU student majoring in Spanish

Service:  Recently returned from serving an LDS mission in Rome and Catania, Italy

Skills:  Fluent in Italian and Spanish.  Willing to tutor/teach/immerse children in Spanish.

Transportation:  She has a car, and is willing to drive/pick up children from activities.

Availability: Tuesdays and Thursdays anytime, Monday, Wednesday and Fridays after 3 pm.  Her plans are to be in Provo for at least another year and a half.

Rate:  $10.00 per hour for about 12-15 hours/week

Location:  Willing to travel in the Provo/Orem and surrounding areas.

Contact Information:  (435)881-3473  or monica.gean@gmail.com, or call or email me

If I didn't already have Larisa, my Nanny, we would have Monica help us out.

Spring Poem

A Bird
by Emily Dickinson

A bird came down the walk:
He did not know I saw;
He bit an angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a dew
From a convenient grass,
And the hopped sidewise to the wall
To let a beetle pass.
Expectedly, the favorite line is:

 And ate the fellow raw.


"I *%!* this!"

Lest my glasses become too rosy someday, I'd better recount a certain exclamation which arose during Spelling yesterday.

A certain child misspelled a word, I felt we had learned 50 times.  I was feeling frustrated, as was she.

Then came the under the breath mutter, "I hate this!"

This certain child was promptly sent to her room, until she could return and apologize to her mother for the hurtful, inappropriate comment.  Contrition comes quickly, for which I am always grateful.

"Hate" is not a word we use in our home.  It was a swear word to my mom, and that stuck for me.

Our memory work for the next few days:


A word fitly spoken
Is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. 

Proverbs 25:11


Boys flying kites, haul in their white winged birds,
You can't do that when you're flying words.
Careful with fire is good advice you know,
Careful with words is ten times doubly so.
Thoughts unexpressed may sometimes fall back dead
But God himself can't kill them once they're said.

Will Carleton

It isn't all roses, but I am still not tempted to quit.  Thankfully, Larisa was here and I promptly left for a midday yoga excursion, my Wednesday retreat.  I came home 75 minutes later revived.


Little Lessons

Lesson 1:  A Little Unexpected Privilege Goes A Long Way in Curing the "Mopes"

 In honor of Ellery's upcoming 8th birthday, we took her to the mall to get her ears pierced last week.  This was a huge "to do" in our family.  For many years I insisted on the age of twelve.  However, about 3 months ago, when things were really rough for Ellery she asked me one day when she could get them pierced.  I answered "8" and she was ecstatic!  

We were a couple weeks early, but last week found us up at the Children's Hospital twice.  A doctor without tact, found a heart murmur while listening to Ellery's chest.  She started using a lot of big, scary words in front of Ellery.  The doctor unfortunately did not get any of my not-so-subtle hints to STOP TALKING LIKE THAT IN FRONT OF MY ANXIETY PRONE SEVEN-YEAR-OLD!!!

Lesson 2:  Make it Painstakingly Clear to a Doctor, BEFORE they Speak to You to Keep Any Upsetting News Out of Children's Ear Shot

As if Ellery doesn't have enough on her plate, the last thing she needed was a doctor telling her, "Most likely she has some very complicated heart problems, with all of your weird family medical issues."  Yes, the doctor actually used the word "weird."  I immediately corrected, and assured Ellery she was not weird, our family is not weird, and her heart is just perfect.  Heart murmurs are extremely common.  I just knew.

The doctor was insistent we see a cardiologist right away.  Thursday, we spent a good deal of time doing echocardiograms and EKG's.  As I knew, Ellery's heart is just fine.  She has two innocent murmurs.  But it was a rough week, so to cheer up the day, we headed to the mall.

Despite her excitement, the anxiety is clearly evidenced on her sweet little face.  With shaky legs she left the mall beaming ear to ear, and has been acting at least 13 since, lol!

One major concern she had was that people may not recognize her anymore, now that her ears are pierced.

 Her eyes are looking a bit "smokey" from washed off mascara.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday of last week she had her end of the year performances for her musical theater class.  The first "Disney Review" included all the classes from the theater.  It was far from impressive.  I left wondering if this was a worthwhile class.  Ellery did not crack a smile the entire performance.  In fact, she kept shading her eyes and wiping her brow.  I think she was searching for us in the audience.  She knew I was in the first row of the balcony.

Finally, she did spot us in her second number and we saw some smiles and gymnastics hands.

Lesson 3:  Spotting Mom and Dad Makes All the Difference

Her performance on Friday was a different experience entirely.  It was a darling 15 minute musical called "Welcome to the Jungle"  based on Aesop's fable of the Lion and the Mouse.  It was done by just the 8 children in her class.  I was very impressed and feel sold on the value of the class.  It was offered to homeschoolers on Friday afternoons from 1:30 until 3 pm.  Here are a few excerpts:

Ellery still wiped her brow a few times and kept pulling up her pant legs, but she wasn't obsessed with scanning the audience for the family.  It was cute.


The Honey is Stuck!

We call her "The Little Honey," because she is so darn sweet.

But my my goodness she is stuck like honey.  The pictures above capture her typical reaction if we try to encourage her to move on her own.  She just wants to smile and look cute.  If it requires effort, like crawling, walking or cruising....out of the question.

Silly, Sweet, Honey


One Very Happy Day

I try not to feel prideful, but ohhh these children are just adorable!  A tribute to some of the most important women in my life.  (There is a whole second set of amazing women, but today I will focus maternally.)

From Callista I learn radiance and patience.
From Ellery I learn perseverance and thoughtfulness. 

From my Berkeley I learn the power of feeling beloved.

You may recognize Callista and Berkeley's dresses from several years ago.  Ellery's I made on Saturday.    They are complete with hidden "penny pockets."
Easter 2007
They were so little!

From Callista I learn what it means to love with all of yourself.

From our trials I learn to seize every moment, and never wait until tomorrow.
 I basked in my children's cuteness all day, that was of course after we finished all the church services, of which our row always seems to be in a state of complete bedlam.

In the afternoon we were so lucky to have Charlotte and her family, my mom and dad, and Derald and Monica for dinner.  It was great to be together with these wonderful women in my life.  We missed Brock and Amy away in Portland.

From Charlotte I just wish I could pick her brain constantly.  She has inspired me to take so many paths I may not have without her.  Books, poems, devotionals, music...  Her gifts are so great.  Sunday as she accompanied Ellery on the flute, Ellery said, "Wow mom, that was really neat.  It was so different playing with Charlotte."

From Monica I learn to never be afraid to make a bold move.  She is young, but courageous in paving out her future.

My mother is one great woman.  I think one of her greatest gifts to me was empowerment.  She allowed me to grow and become the woman that I am.  She instilled in my the confidence, that I could do whatever I wanted in life.  Being smart and undaunted in pursuing intelligence, being athletic, being kind and humble...she modeled these attributes.  (okay maybe not athletic :)  I have to be honest here otherwise it all loses its credibility).

She always reminded me her decision to stay home with the children was not a necessity but a choice. I loved knowing my mom was capable to be a professional had she chosen to do so.  My ideas of expressing my independence and accomplishment have changed over the years, but the ability to do so was what I learned from her.

I love you mom.


Serious Upkeep

This is my third mending of Emmett's beloved bear.  We are trying to avoid this turing into a "hide" like the last bear.  Unfortunately the leather begins to get brittle.  But Emmett, your mother will continue to sew up your bear with dental floss as long as I can.  It is worth the light up, and love in your eyes.  You can be truly grateful for the simple things.