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.


Callista is Six-sational!!

The Little Bean, Pipper Dip Dip, Squeaker, Nanny, (she answers to any and all) is six-years-old.  And what a celebration we had!

Callista was set on a beach cake and a swimming party.  And these candles.  :)

Callista continues to hold the title “Loudest and Liveliest Family Member” for six years straight now.  It is an impressive feat, but her competition is not too stiff as her three siblings are rather mellow and mild mannered.  

To fight my problem with frosting, I actually frosted this cake with "tootsie rolls."  I cooked them to soft ball instead of hard ball.  We used spinach, beets, and carrots to color the frosting.  For blue I had to resort to food coloring.  The children enjoyed the flavored candy frosting.  

At the pool.
 The celebration included streamers, a fabulous party at the pool with her 2 best friends and cousins, followed by pizza, salad, cake and presents back at the house.   

She received a fancy new purple mountain bike and now officially pedals her way up the canyon in the family Bike Train.

Callista spent her birthday wearing a special pin Happy Birthday pin I made for her.  It was sparkly and very prominent.  All day at school, piano lessons and gymnastics she was the star of the show and received ample attention.

She also enjoyed a special outing with Mimi, from which she returned laden with wonderful toys and clothes and loves.  Not to be left out, Brent and I snitched her away for a special lunch together at Kneaders, her favorite restaurant.  

Cake with Dad.
This little girl is the life and death of me.  She drives me to joy and tears.  She convinced me at six years old she would grow out of her intense habit of "squeaking."  
Hmmm....I will keep you posted on that one.  Passion just exudes out of Pip.

She clamors for more gymnastics.  Sometimes I am almost bonkers, as she seems to be upside down the entire time we are trying to do spelling and piano.  Her toes point straight up into the sky and she is certain it helps her "think better."  At any moment she tries to rope anyone she can in to listen to her play the piano.  Her current solo "Popcorn Popping," is a blessing and curse in our house.  It is very difficult but has as much pizazz as she does.  

She adores little children and they in turn squeal in delight for her, but also sometimes run for mom if she her enthusiasm gets a little carried away.   

Callista never fails to search me out at night to snuggle.  No matter which bed I may be trying to hide in, she finds me and snuggles tight. 

Stubbed toes, pulled hair, and anything equally severe (or not so) result in piercing shrieking, which I still signal inside me a vision of her writhing somewhere in excruciating pain from a life threatening injury.  There are no minor incidents with Callista.

Ready for school.  Home and "Abroad."

Her personality is at times baffling.  Her interview with her teacher at the elementary school before school began was unfathomable to me.   The poor thing was shaking with fright.  Her tongue began to swell and her speech slurred.  It was like every light bulb in her brain turned off.  Typical responses to questions included, "I don't know," and  "Uhhhh..."  My ego nosedived on the spot.  My star student choked.  My math whiz, reading pro, memorizing maniac....what happened?  I could just see the teacher in her head  "Oh boy, another awkward homeschooler."  I kept hissing to Callista to snap out of the baby talk, to no avail.  

It was an interesting way to start off the school year.  However, her teacher assured me she is eager and anxious to participate and well liked by all the children in her class after the first 2 weeks.  She is only there for 2 hours in the morning, but thankfully the jitters are gone and Callista seems to be shining through.

The elementary school isn't everything she dreamed it would be.  This helped scrape my ego off the floor.  She loves math, history, and anything which requires me to read to her.

I can't help but mention another family trademark with the Nan.  She has a miniature bladder.  Roadtrips can be excruciatingly frustrating with her.  We have even tried to get her to use a diaper, when it has been 4 stops already.  But she freezes up.  (I know.  This is quite cruel of us as parents.   I can't help thinking of the poor astronaut woman in her car with her diaper.)  

I treasure how attached Callista is to me.  The most attached of all my children.  Of course, this endears me to her immensely.  

Posing in front of Mt Hood

We love you Callista and are so proud of you!  Happy Sixth Birthday!!!!


The Summer that Wasn't

I guess it was...but it was sooo short!

"Snaggle-tooth," "Hunny" or "Fat," whichever you choose to call her (she will answer to them all) is growing like crazy.

An endearing "snuggle-side" has blossomed in Berkeley.  She has turned into a little lover, nuzzling in with anyone, and everyone at any chance she gets.  This makes her the second baby in a row who knows how to win people over in a flash.

She cleans too.

Her locomotive strategies include cruising, a single handed bum scoot, and the occasional traditional crawl.  Still no walking, but I'm not worried.  It will come soon enough.  Her single word is "uh-oh."  At least she has one word.  All that fluid in her ears makes hearing and balance a little tough.  We are weighing the cost-benefit of ear tubes.

Brent celebrated a birthday, as did his mom.  At this point he is pretty agile.  He is quite a cruiser as well.  We haven't taken to calling him "The Fat."  Maybe next year he'll fit the bill?  Four to forty.  Scary stuff.  Middle-age is now undeniable.

Brent's mom has been spending several weeks in town.  We love having her around.  But our hearts are still raw for Papa.

The Full Circle Annual Horsin' Around Rodeo was the guaranteed hit.  I am keeping an open invitation to all my friends to join us each year.  I keep preparing my mom my crew will keep growing.  This year it was fun to have my two running gals Melody and Marie with their families.  
Here we are lazying around in the hayloft.  We left the rolling to others.
Watching Calf Wrestling in the shade.

Panning for Gold with Mimi

Grabbing dollar bills from the sheep

Emmett, Maggie and Daniel

Here Melody, Char, Me, and John are preparing to wrestle a steer.  Melody was an animal!  Dad is about to let him loose.

She doesn't look into the smooching but she is.  
 The rodeo also boasted some spirited volleyball this year, which was a fun addition.

Grandpa had a hotel in Provo for the night, so we enjoyed a private pool party with Grandma and Grandpa.

School begins in full force this week.  The schedule you see below took a bundle of hours to pull together.  However, I think it is in working shape.  Our first run throughs have been successful.

I will try to give some more breakdown in the future.

School Ends
11:45 or 2:20

6 am
Ellery:  Vest              Brent:  Wake, Shower, Breakfast
Free Time 
Family Time

Ellery:  Dressed, Hair, Bed Made, Teeth, Prayers, Breakfast
Callista:  Dressed, Hair, Bed Made, Teeth, Prayers, Breakfast, Lunch Packed
7 am
Ellery:  Flute Practice              Callista:  Piano Practice with Mom 
Emmett:  Dressed, Hair, Bed Made, Teeth, Prayers, Breakfast
Family Scripture Reading
PE with Dad
Memorization, Poems, Read Aloud with Family
Spelling/Phonics and Reading with Mom and Callista
Ellery Spelling Test
9 am
Ellery:  Piano Practicing              Callista:  Cascade
Ellery Gym
Callista Private 
11-12 pm
Emmett Gym
Ellery Finish Piano or Computers
Ellery Piano
Emmett Gym / Mom Errands
Ellery Finish Piano
Larisa Arrives
Ellery Piano
Ellery and Mom Latin
with Larisa
Ellery and Mom Latin
Ellery and Mom Singapore Math
Lunch  and Free Time
Lunch and Free Time with Larisa
Shiller or Saxon Math 
with Callista and Ellery
Ellery: Spanish
Callista:  Singapore Math with Mom
12 pm
Math Cont.
Lunch with Dad
Mom to Yoga
Free Time 
Family Time

Writing with Callista and Ellery
12:15 Lunch
1 pm
History and Science Ellery, Mom and Callista
Ellery Art Class
Callista Russian
Mom with kids
Writing Group all Children
History and Science Ellery, Mom and Callista or Field Trip
2 pm
Ellery and Callista
 Piano Lessons
Emmett Larisa
Free Time
Snack Time
Quiet Reading
Callista Homework
Flute Lesson 
Callista Homework
 Free Time 
Free Time 
Ellery Activity Day 3:45-5 Every Other Week  
Quiet Reading
4 pm
Free Time  
5 pm
Babysitter Night  
Dinner with Babysitter
Ellery Sewing Class
Family Home Evening
In Bed Family Scriptures
8 pm
In Bed Reading with Mom
Lights out 8:30