Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Christmas Card Pictures 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!  Enjoy some pictures of our family from this past year.  All the best in 2019.


The Stewarts

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Flower Walk

This morning I was feeling grumpy. So, Jubilee and I took a short walk. We saw so many flowers that we decided it should be a flower walk, and we should take pictures of each flower we saw. Here are the pictures!

Jubilee with a popcorn tree!

This little white flower was prolific in the arboretum

Wild violets!

Grass flower

We had some of this in our yard in IL.  

Purple flower, with bonus red grass flowers and yellow flowers.

The closest thing we could find to a flower in the succulent bed

I think this is the prettiest weed

Seeds starting on one of the trees

An iris, the biggest flower we saw!

Anybody know the name of these purple ones?

Dandelion flower, among white petals from a tree.

The tiniest flower we saw, and the only BLUE one!

Flowers on a crab apple tree

I don't know the name of this one.

Not sure about this one either.

We just looked this one up, and it's called Solomon's Seal.

Pretty sure that this little tree is an Asian Magnolia.
We had a LOT of fun, and if you are feeling grouchy, I highly recommend a walk. :-D

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mothers' Day 2016

Just wanted to digitize some of the things the kids wrote to me for Mother's Day.

From Levi:
What is your mom really good at? cooking
What does your mom do to relax? sleep
Where does your mom shop? Shoprite
How old is your mom? 29
What is your mom's job? Takes care of me
What do you love most about your mom? That she cooks the best spagetti
If you could buy you mom anything, what would it be? a book
What does you mom do while you are in school? play with my sister.
(written inside of a heart) Always in my heart! Love Levi
My mom is a Star Because... She cleans up
My mom is sweet because... she loves me
My mom is...beautiful
My mom is...smart
My mom is...the best
My mom is...nice
My mom is...a good cook
My mom is... a good singer

The funnest part of getting these two little cards from him was his adorable face beaming up at me and the way he jumped up and down with excitement as I read. Also how he read for me when I couldn't quite read what he had written. :) 

From Benjamin:
My mom is...from Arizona
My mom is...a normal human
My mom is...happy
My mom is...good
My mom is...mostly likely to receive celestial
My mom is...not mad
p.s. open the pettles 

These were flower cards, with something written under each petal. 

When I read "my mom is not mad" Benjamin laughed and said, "See? You're not mad!" It was so funny. Especially because so many of his other petals were very factual, he thought it was very clever to say I was not mad and have it be true in the moment that I was reading the card. Also it's good to know that he thinks I'm headed for celestial glory, hahaha. :)

Jacob took some silly pictures of us on Mother's Day, while I was teaching the kids how to play Scorched Earth. Ah, the games of my childhood, now available free online. :-D

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Benjamin: Writing from the heart

Have you seen this exercise before? I did it once and it was lovely. It's supposed to help you know what to write about, or get you thinking about what's in your own head and your own sphere.

Benjamin did it at the beginning of the school year, in August 2015. I thought that I'd record what Benjamin's answers here.

At his checkup in Aug 2015
People I care about

Things I do in my free time
watch pokemon
play outside
play board games
argue with Levi haha

Places I've lived in/visited
Stone Mountain (GA)
Childrens Museum (GA)
Ocean Beach (CT)

Favorite memories
swimming all summer
monopoly empire
taking a shower with jubi
reading the true meaning of smekday

I couldn't find thephoto I thought I took of the original paper. That's a shame. I'm sure the paper itself will turn up. I wonder what he would put now! I think his answers would have changed in just these last few months.

Getting Braces...Again

So this happened yesterday. Oh man, I have such mixed feelings about it!
Happy -- that I can fix the problems with my "deep bite" before they become really bad.
Grateful -- that I can afford to fix them now!
Regretful -- that I didn't prevent them in the first place by wearing my retainer or by getting a new retainer years ago.
Grouchy -- because OUCH!
When I came home with braces on, Jubilee had the funniest reactions. I was hoping to do Invisalign, so I didn't tell them I was getting braces. When I saw Jubilee, she just kept sticking her tongue out and feeling her own mouth. Then she said, "You changed."

Then throughout the afternoon she would occasionally ask, "Can I see your braces again?"

I was reminded of my little sister, who used to call braces "bracelets," and now has braces of her own. :)

This morning Jubilee asked "Can I get braces?" To which I answered "Yes. When you're older, you'll get braces, too." Because it's highly probable.

Benjamin and Levi didn't say much about my braces, but this morning Levi asked, "Can boys have braces, too?"

I assured him that they could. He said he thought more girls had braces than boys.  

Anyway, I didn't do Invisalign because it was a little more expensive and it was going to take half again as long (18 months, instead of 12). Let's just get this over with!

And I solemnly swear to wear my retainer every night for the rest of my life. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Letters between brothers

This morning Benjamin wanted to go play at a friend's house. Levi, was agitated by this and tried to explain to Benjamin why he didn't want him to go. Benjamin was annoyed and didn't want to listen, so I suggested that Levi write Benjamin a note. I took dictation from Levi and helped him express himself a little bit. Benjamin wrote his own responses.

Levi, Alistair, and Benjamin

Dear Benjamin,
Here's the thing about friends' houses. That I lose the privilege of playing with you. And I don't like that. I would like it better if you could play with me more while we were at a friend's house. Like maybe taking my suggestions for what to play.
from Levi

Dear Levi,
I sometimes don't like playing with you. I feel like I need to escape to a friend's house. Sorry but today is one of those days.

There isn't many people that I like to play with in Connecticut. The only other person that I like to play with is Mom. What do you think I could do to make more friends?

Dear Levi,
I think you should have a party. Invite some people in your class. Invite some people you know and invite some people you would like to know better.

What if I accidentally invite the wrong friend?

Dear Levi,
You'll get to know the people better so if you invite the wrong person it's OK. The party's purpose is to help you know people better. You'll learn from your mistakes.
Benjamin and Levi

This was followed by Levi clarifying that he worried that he might telephone to invite someone but find that he had literally called someone else, because the two people had identical phone numbers. We explained that phone numbers are unique and that people and families have their own phone numbers.

"Thanks for solving my problem, Benjamin"

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Quotes from Connecticut episode 1


"I can want this?" meaning 'can I have this?'

"I a lamby frog!" hopping around.

"Whose name?" meaning 'what's his name?'

She didn't want to get out of her carseat and go inside, so I told her a story about a girl named Jubilee who got out of the car. She gave me the stink eye and said, "I don't like dat story."

Alysa: Wow you are getting to be so big!
Jubilee: I not so big. I so tiny. Sooo tiny.

Alysa: Where do you live?
Jubilee: Pink Playground!

We had some friends from out of town over, and I was trying to get all the kids' attention. I said, "One, two, three, eyes on me." All the school-age kids immediately stood attention and said "One, two, eyes on you." Jubilee was struck with the response I got, and once the kids went about their assigned task she marched around chanting "One, two, eyes on me! One, two, eyes on me!"

"It's cocoa dots!" describing her polka dot leggings.

I was making Jubilee a burrito. I had just pulled it out of the microwave and was letting it cool a little before I rolled it up. Jubilee was ready to eat and asked, "Can you burreet it?"

Alysa: Do you want to say a little prayer [on your breakfast]?
Jubilee: No. I say a BIG prayer.

We went to the library and as I was signing us in on the parking sheet she asked, "I can go in the alligator?" I was so confused. She meant elevator.


I was making a sandcastle at the beach, and someone (Jubilee?) asked me to make it a "sand church." Levi took an interest and when it was a pretty big pile of sand he said, "I'll put the Angel Moroni on top!" He cast about in the sand for something to top it with, and I glanced over to check on Benjamin. When I turned back to the sand church Levi sat on it.

We were playing "soccer with hands" in the back yard, boys vs. girls, and the boys beat me and Jubilee (who repeatedly scored on our goal). Benjamin was pleased with how well they'd done. He did some mental calculations and said, "You're a mom, and we're eleven, comvined!"

I was looking back at old pictures and saw that Levi's birthday cake last year said "4 so happy" upon his request. This year he had brownies for his cake, and I didn't write anything on them. But I asked him, "If we had written on it, what would your cake say this year?" "Feliz Cumpleanos." Levi has got into the bilingual immersion program, and is now learning Spanish.


"Instead of playing with 10 cards, we're playing with ALL the cards!" playing Dominion with his friend Alistair.

We were trying to skip rocks on the river, which devolved into throwing rocks in the river. Benjamin picked up a rock bigger than a brick and said, "They don't call me The Big Skipper for nothing!" and chucked it in.


Jacob and I were asked to accompany the Primary children on our clarinets, during the annual Primary Program. We had been practicing our parts and the kids had been practicing their singing. On one song they were to sing the final verse in Spanish. Jacob affected an Eeyore voice and said, "I'll be playing the clarinet in Spanish. But no one will probably notice."

We played the song "Follow the Prophet." I did the melody, and Jacob did some fun and fancy harmonizing written by Tara Haglund. Afterward we got many compliments, and two or three people independently told us we gave the piece a snake charmer feel.


I went to the church building to watch the General Women's meeting. We were chatting beforehand when Sis. Weseman, the RS president, dropped a bomb: "the satellite is broken."

We were all worried about how we would watch the broadcast, but she told us she had called the Bishop, interrupted his shower, and he had told her that his counselor had it all taken care of. Since there was no evidence of this, we were all a little concerned. One sister offered to text message the counselor. Another sister asked if we should go get the TV and try to test it out.

"Well, we have 45 minutes." said Sis. Weseman.
I turned and looked at her. "That's what the five foolish virgins said!"
It all worked out fine.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Egg Hunt and Spring Break Fun

I thought I'd pop on here and share a couple of fun videos from the past little while.  The first is from when my sister Rachel and her family came to visit over their spring break.  Even though it was a couple of weeks until Easter, we decided to do an egg hunt and I recorded this fun video while we were doing it:

We did this for a family home evening activity and everyone had a lot of fun!

The second video is from our trip to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History today.  I got three free tickets from one of my students who had helped out at their poison exhibit.  His research group studies monarch butterflies, which are poisonous, so they were invited to help out at a special night at the museum.  He got the tickets as a thank you and then passed them on to me when I mentioned that we hadn't been yet.  So, thanks Kevin!  This little video just has some photo highlights from the trip:

Anyways, that's a couple of fun things that have been happening around here lately!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

On Valentine's Day: The Musings of a first-grader

Oh, you guys. Benjamin came up with some real gems about Valentines Day. I've been smiling about them all month. Ready?

While contemplating making his valentine mailbox:
"I mean, I'm prob'ly gonna get letters from pretty much everybody... cuz I'm like the best kid in class."

Benjamin gave his classmates the good ol' lollipop valentine this year!
Out of nowhere:
"Valentines is mostly about chocolate. Right? hehe. That's the main ingredient of Valentine's Day." 
(He said "right" like "amIright" meaning, full of confidence.)

Jacob:Where are the [two inanimate objects that have now been forgotten]?
Levi: Maybe they're together.
Benjamin: Maybe they're dating. And KISSING!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Less Valentine themed but still hilarious:

Benjamin was looking everywhere for his homework. We had been working on it earlier and now we couldn't find it. Both of us had looked. He walked into the other room and I heard him say, "Ok Google. Where's my homework?" (Jacob and I both have phones with a voice search that activates when you say Ok Google.) Then, in a robot voice, he said, "Searching house..."  :D And the funniest part is that it wasn't in the house at all, but left out in the backyard and blown into the garden bed.

Thumbs up for s'mores 'round the fireplace 

Benjamin: Are you Italian?
Alysa: No.
Benjamin: I was talking to the sky. The sky is Italian.
Alysa: The sky in Italy is Italian.
Benjamin: What?
Alysa: The sky in Italy is Italian.
Benjamin: No. I'm serious. The sky is Italian. I heard that Italy invented the sky.
*gives me a look of wide-eyed innocence which breaks into a sly grin.*

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

You may have noticed...

Hi! You may have noticed how few posts have been going up here lately. That is due, in large part, to the increased number of posts going up on Everead! They are good posts, too. Some of them even have pictures of the kids in them. (Whaaaaat?!? I know. But I was blogging over there! Not over here. So over there the pictures went.) See here and here.

But you know what has not gone up over there yet? Pictures of my haircut. The haircut I got, like, forever ago. And I promised Rachel I'd post some more of those. I've taken quite a few, in an effort to figure out what, exactly I look like. Here ya go! These are most recent then go back in time.


sideways selfie

selfie stuck in the car at stone mountain with a sleeping baby

epic bedhead

dentist visit

BLT. So yum.

Jacob on his way to interview at Connecticut!

most epic bedhead

Selfie while i look at the camera and kiss my daughter who may be picking her nose.

After bath I pick her up and hold her to the mirror and always say...
"Who's that baby?!?"

Selfie while reading! (or should i say "reading")

Selfie with the woman who planted all our blueberry bushes!
And Jubilee, who doesn't like strangers, even if they are nice old ladies.

current facebook profile pic

Date night!! Watched The Fault In Our Stars

you can't tell but I was just stickin' my hand over the ends of the hair there.
Zane cut it a bit long at the neck (for my taste), first time around. 

The before and after pic

Benjamin, you will notice, does not permit me to take selfies with him.

I used to be a bit self-conscious about taking self portraits and sharing them online. But then I heard a great quote (I should find out who said it) and it was basically like, "I like it when my friends take selfies. Then I get to see my friends. It's nice. We can all go out and see a sunset or whatever, but I can't just go see all my friends." So. Was it nice to see me?

Do you think this post was self-indulgent? I will refer you to one of my very first blog posts. Wow. That's a blast from the past.