08 July 2018

Mission call

Did I leave you  hanging?

Orlando Florida!

He was pretty excited. Especially to be going somewhere warm. Here's a link to the video we recorded. His first question to me was "Do you think I can bring my tennis racket?"

Um . . . 


Scott, Kaleb, Erik, Matt

Josiah, Erik

But maybe he might find some people who like to play tennis and who might be interested in learning more about Jesus Christ. I'm sure he could find a way to make it work to his advantage.

Erik's home teaching companion stopped by to congratulate him. James McConnell has been instrumental in getting that kid to where he is today. And another is our awesome bishop who is sadly getting released next Sunday.
James McConnell, Erik
Bishop Steinagel in the suit
My heart was extremely full last week as I bore testimony in our ward to the power that comes from serving faithfully in the temple and upholding those covenants I made with God many, many years ago. There is tremendous priesthood power with great saving promises to those who consecrate their life to a God who loves us all beyond comprehension.

The other great truth I bore witness to was the goodness of our ward in helping me raise children to know a Father in Heaven who loves them. I knew many years ago when nothing seemed to work out with buying a lot in Stansbury that Lake Point was where our family needed to be. The way things fell into place was a sure witness of that fact. My family has been the recipients of so many good things. We have been blessed immeasurably by the goodness of others, by their sacrifice of time and resources and have been so loved and cared for. I can't help but want to do the same and pay it forward to others.

01 July 2018

A beautiful chaos

I don't know how else to describe this month of June other than it's been a beautiful chaos. I knew when I started classes in January that June would be a bit busier than usual. Originally I was supposed to take four week-long classes commuting to Weber State every day (a 50 minute drive).

Then we threw in a wedding.

And moving a daughter into her married apartment.

And getting wedding invitations mailed out.

And a son receiving the Melchezedek priesthood

and patiently waiting for mission call (that we thought we'd be opening at the wedding breakfast but instead came home to find it in the mail).

And a birthday for an 8-year-old boy

that included a birthday party because that's been the tradition when the kids turn 8

and learning to ride a bike.

And a first cub scout camp.

And an end-of-season tennis banquet honoring the seniors.

And a sealing for a sister.

And several own endowment sessions at the temple

a week a part.

And a 21st wedding anniversary.

And inheriting a van full of 2nd grade stuff that really just needs most of it thrown away.

And wisdom teeth pulled for another child.

And a braces consultation for yet another.

Add to all of that trying to keep a yard looking immaculate for a wedding open house which entails weeding and pruning and planting and watering.

And try to get some homework done in there somewhere like

Creating a math lesson plan.

Creating a grammar lesson plan.

Integrating art into those lesson plans.

Student interviews.

Reflective journal.

A literacy project (labeling and leveling all my classroom books).

A math final.

And reading . . . lots of it.

Oh and don't forget all the other "mom" stuff like laundry and bills and grocery shopping and cleaning and meals. Actually Ash has stepped up nicely to take care of what she can with making dinner and keeping on top of laundry.

The Lord has given me many tender mercies throughout this month. One class canceled. Another had very little homework. The other two classes allowed me to stay in Tooele rather than commute to Weber County every day. Classes were only scheduled through Thursday rather than Friday. Some classes were online so I finished assignments as my own pace. The weather has been very temperate with no high temperatures helping me keep plants alive and green.

The tender mercy of having two children endowed in a temple, receiving some of God's greatest blessings for faithful obedience, made my heart extremely full the day Erik went to the temple. Kiersten was able to be there and Ash tagged along to do baptisms. I testify the priesthood blessings of the temple are very real. God does watch over his children. Everything we do in the temple is meant to increase our faith in Jesus Christ and where we go to feel God's love he has for his children. Four temples in three weeks!

29 June 2018


Oh how I love these ladies. They are some of my bestest friends. We laugh together, cry together, and even fight once in awhile. But I know they have always got my back in whatever situation I find myself in. They have been loyal supporters in everything my family has going on recently.

At Natalie's sealing we tried to recreate a favorite photo from her wedding four years ago.

28 June 2018

Just keep swimming

That Dory sure knew what she was talking about. Her advice to Nemo is timely and has been my mantra for the past six months . . . along with these songs . . .

Stayin' Alive
I Will Survive
Living' on a Prayer

My summer classes came to end today with the math final I took. Only missed one and I sure do wish I knew which question it was. Eighteen credits completed in the last 6 months. I feel like I can surface for a quick breath of air before another deep dive begins into the abyss of lesson planning and all things school related. I've got a 7 week hiatus until school starts and then soon after classes start up again.

My language arts class required that I complete a literacy project. She didn't care what it was only that it had something to do with literacy and it had to take six hours. I was vegging at my desk one night, looking at the hoards of books I've acquired from the DI, the library book sale, a retiring school teacher, and envisioning the books left in my classroom for me. I had my project.

Organize, label, and level my books.

It was a project I was going to do eventually anyway so why not have it count for something.

I want my classroom to have lots of books for the students to choose from. I once read that a classroom library should have at least 20 books per student but I want as many as I can successfully fit. I came across Beth Newingham’s library organization method on the Scholastic website. She uses the Fountas and Pinnell guided reading levels where the range for second graders is K, L, M. However, I plan to have most of my books in the yellow with books in the red and blue to help students who struggle and students who need to be challenged.

Previously I had done some research on why you might or might not want to level your books. I came away with not wanting to level every book, but to use it as a guide for me to guide students to books that they are interested in and also books that are at their reading level so they don’t get frustrated. If I leveled every book, students might get dissuaded from reading books that might challenge them.

I used a hybrid by using four colored dots to represent the different levels. On these labels I them used a number 1 through 4 based on the different level also. This was a way to let me know what the level of the book was without letting the student exactly know. A student might see a book leveled N and not pick it up because they know they are reading at a level M. Whereas with this system of colored dots and numbers, this same student would pick up a book with a yellow dot and a number 4 and not necessarily know right away what level. As the teacher, I would know that it is a level N but it wouldn’t be as obvious to the student.

I used the Book Wizard* on the Scholastic website to find the levels for most of my books. Some books weren’t on there and some nonfiction books I chose not to level. I also put a label on the inside of the books that said, “From the classroom library of Mrs. Leary” to keep track of my books.

I am not sure exactly what bins and bookcases I might already have available, but I would like to keep my books in bins that are labeled according to what they will find in the bin. Some of the categories to use are Fiction Picture Books, Animals, Chapter books grouped by series, Poetry, Historical Fiction, etc. I printed out some labels for bins.

Each book will also have a corresponding label that matches the bin the book should be in. This will help students know exactly what bin the book needs to be returned to.

I liked how Beth used four different colored baskets for Fiction, Nonfiction, Chapter Books in a series, and Chapter books not part of a series to also guide students in their book selections.

This project is on going. I have several more boxes in the garage to sort through and a whole classroom to sort through too.

*I downloaded the app on my phone which made it so much easier to find books to level. I could utilize the voice to text feature instead of having to type. This made the job easier.