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.



Our little fearless athlete Emmett has taken off on his new bike.  Weighing in at a whopping 30 lbs, he is quite a little site riding around on his 2 wheeler.

He still doesn't have quite "the moves" as he pulls out on his balance bike, it is a milestone nonetheless.

The Summer has proved amazingly busy!  I didnt anticipate it to be so.   On paper it didn't seem complicated.  Now that Callista takes piano, I spend a solid two hours on music each morning.  It is by far our most consistent skill practice.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are full of gymnastics from 8 am until 1 pm.  In the afternoons we squeeze in reading, and either Math, Writing, History, Science, or Spelling.  I have tried to be flexible to allow the children plenty of freeplay with so many children around.

This week the girls are attending a Camp in the afternoons each day.  It is a local Montessori Charter School.  With their cousins as tag-a-longs they are having a wonderful time.  This week the focus is art.  In two weeks they attend another week on Science.

Life is crazy but good right now.  We have ear drainage issues but everyone's lungs seem to be in good shape.  Hooray for the Summer weather!


Summer Reading

Some of the latest things we've been reading....

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland  by Lewis Carroll

Through the Looking Glass  by Lewis Carroll

These have not been my favorite, which may be somewhat blasphemous to say.  I bought the annotated edition, which is actually fascinating, because Carroll was a true genius of parody.  But I find the tales too nonsensical to enjoy reading together.  That being said....Ellery loves them.  Callista is more neutral.  Emmett gets excited anytime we talk about "The Queen of Hearts".  He starts reciting Mother Goose.

The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith.

The delightful story Disney drew their movie from.  Of course it is is better than the movie.  You will LOVE Cruella Deville.  What a fantastic villian!

Ellery is currently reading... 

Wind Dancer by Craig Clyde and James Hennessy.

This book was given to her by the nurses at PCMC.  She loves it.  The story chronicles the life of a little girl and her horse, who have a series of difficult challenges to overcome and endure.  It is a sweet little story.  After finishing the Little House Series, Ellery has been waffling around a bit really latching on to some books she loves.  She has also recently read

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

The Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit

This one was a bit challenging.  She made it through half but got a bit discouraged in the comprehension.  As soon as we finish Through the Looking Glass we will pick it up together.

Callista is currently reading....

Frog and Toad  books by Arnold Lobel

These are the most delightful books.  I could just read them over and over again and laugh everytime.  They are perfect for Callista's personality.

The Magic Tree House Series  by Mary Pope Osborne

Trading pages is the best way to read these still.  They are a little more challenging for her, but give her some great new words, in wonderful context, while still including a good amount of repetition.  

Callista's little reading light bulb just shot on with amazing brilliance.  I love watching that happen.  I remember with Ellery.  Callista is about a year and a half younger, but I think that so normal.  It happens for each person at a different time.  Her new passion of reading to Emmett has also allowed her skills to flourish.

Emmett's favorite books are currently....

Mother Goose (still)

Jack and the Beanstalk

The Gingerbread Man

The Little Engine that Could

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Green Eggs and Ham

Rebecca is currently reading...

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Just in the beginning stages.  Fascinating.

Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought  current issue Summer 2011

I feel I have come full circle in some ways in my religious thinking and world view.  But the view is broader and far more encompassing this time around.  I am back to my environmental and scientific roots.  Evolution just makes perfect sense to me.  It is a beautiful unifying theory.  I believe God works through imperfect people who can become corrupted in so many ways.  Some application of Darwin's theory have wreaked unequivocal horror on humankind.  But this does not discount his work and contribution to mankind.  The same could be said of Joseph Smith of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Really this evolution in my thinking deserves several detailed posts.  One of these days I will have the time.  But let me leave a quote from an article in DIALOGUE, written by Bryan V. Wallis, Flexibility in the Ecology of Ideas:  Revelatory Religion and the Environment.  pg 59.

 Systems of thought that influence how individuals or societies perceive themselves in the context of the world must be continually evaluated and modified based on new information and evolving needs and circumstances... Continual modifications must be made to preserve overall systemic integrity.

If I could sum up my life in a few sentences, these may fit as well as any.

Recently finished....

Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare

A passionate play, where I found myself trying to find redeeming qualities in the protagonists, but came up short.  Instead I found myself determined to pinpoint my own passions and be acutely aware they do not lead me into destruction large or small.  And our passions can be many and varied.

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (selections)

While I agree with many of the principles of free trade, there seems to be some moral ambiguity in a completely free market system that I am beginning to feel very uncomfortable with.


Hot Shots

A favorite activity has been weekday nights at the pool.  It is half price and no one is there.  We love it!

You can't bring in your own snacks, so when Berkeley gets hungary she just gives Brent's toes a little nibble.  No biggie.

My neighbor Marie and I walked out of the house to this ingenious combination.  The children had dragged the bounce house out of the garage, the house from the backyard, and concocted the funtastic creation.  This has provided hours of fun for the entire street.

Way to think outside the box Ellery!


Happy Birthday Honey!

The little Honey turned one on June 10th!  What a wild ride of a year it has been.  You would never know looking at this bright-eyed, fat little lambchop now she began with such a rough time.

Her smile simply lights up our hearts.  And I can't seem to pull my eyes away from hers.  They have a trance like quality that just sucks you in. 

 Berkeley isn't talking yet, except for consonant babble and the occasional dramatic growling.  However, I have come to expect with my PCD kids talking comes, but comes very late.  Fighting all that goo in the ears takes it's toll.  

Finally she is beginning to move independently.  Her favorite mode of transit is an incredibly awkward bum scoot, which consists of face to the ground, arms stretched out as far as possible.  I guess she is quite flexible, maybe we can be proud of that. 

What the honey lacks in language and mobility she makes up for in personality.  She is never shy with a smile, even though she may want to stay in her mom's arms.  Not necessarily a snuggler, but she gives just enough "lean ins" and kisses to be irresistible.  

 We spent a very fun afternoon picnicking in SLC and then to the zoo with Char and her kids and my mom.  Berkeley especially loved the carousel.  But mostly she was just her little gem self, sitting quietly in the stroller looking around.

The children and I made her some ladybug cakes using the Buttermilk Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe.  It is such a moist yummy cake.  For the birthday cake I just used a decorator frosting, and disgusting artificial coloring.  We scraped off the frosting to eat it.  Luckily none of us like frosting, exceptingEllery, who really has a sweet tooth!  I did substitute the agave nectar for SUCANAT.  I have been trying to stay away from agave lately.  It is so controversial, I am not sure what to make of it.  The cake is actually best made on a cookie sheet.  It almost tastes like a brownie, but not as dense. 

Berkeley is my least picky eater of all the children.  She will eat anything, which just further endears her to me.  Her nose runs, and she can cough up the juiciest hacks you've heard, but we've steered clear of pneumonia and RSV for which I am very grateful.

We love our little Berkeley.  Our caboose.  I had a very hard time when she weaned herself last week.  She is my first baby to do so.  It was time, but it was hard to give up.  This little one is growing up far too quickly for her mother's liking!


Ellery's Baptism

Ellery before her Baptism.  She is positively glowing.  A beautiful person.

We are so proud of our Ellery for choosing to be baptized today.  She turned eight years old, on May 23rd, qualifying her to make this decision.  In doing so, she takes upon herself the name of Jesus Christ.  Baptism is the gate to eternal life, and we are so grateful she entered into the waters.

Ellery and her Dad on her Baptism Day

Ellery and the little ones.  Berkeley wasn't thrilled about the whole thing.

Ellery was baptized by Brent.  She then received the gift of the Holy Ghost, through hands being placed upon her head and the blessing and command given.  If she is obedient she now has the ability to have the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, and Teacher with her at all times.  Two saving ordinances in one day.  A big day.  A beautiful day.

I spent last weekend sewing Ellery's dress.  She found one she loved on the Internet so we created it for her, adding some of our own touches.  She wanted to be baptized in her dress.  We opted out of the "jumpsuit."

Surrounded by our good Bishop Beeson and his family, our families, several neighbors and close friends, it was a perfect morning.  After the baptism, we returned home for a little luncheon with Brent's mom, his brother's family, my sister Charlotte and her family, and Monica.  Ellery's flute teacher Amber and our nanny Larisa also came with their husbands.

Ellery's Hair 

It was a big day for our family, but the Spirit has been telling me she is ready.  Without those quiet consistent promptings the last several weeks, this would have been a more difficult day.  It is scary to see your own child reach an age of accountability.  Christ must be more central in her life.  Repentance.  Charity.  Forgiveness.  Hope.  She is no longer saved by her innocence, but by Christ.  Brent gave her a beautiful blessing to aid her as she embarks on this journey of a lifetime to be His true disciple.