Saturday, August 31, 2013

August 2013 on FB

Aug. 1: Today is the Salmon Library's last Summer Reading Program Day. I've been their guest reader this summer and have thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks Jodi Williams Sommers for this fun opportunity!

Aug. 1: All the prayers that were being sent for rain to help the local forest fires were heard and answered in a major way today: in the form of a giant rain/hail/wind/thunder storm. Wow! Can't believe the damage in town. We are truly blessed that the huge hail didn't drop down by our house so our pumpkin patch is saved.

Aug. 3: I love love love these clear blue skies as a result of that massive storm the other day that helped out the forest fires! It's been so nice the last 2 days to have smoke-free skies again! It's the perfect day for a summer outdoor BBQ! So happy!

Aug. 6: Intense water aerobics tonight simultaneously made me want to vomit AND make me feel hungry!

Aug. 8: Growing food is both a blessing and a curse...I love being able to reap the bounties from our fruit trees & garden (home grown is SO delicious AND free!), but I hate being glued to the kitchen for hours and hours of canning the produce(it's hot, and it hurts my back & feet).

Aug. 10: Loved the ward campout last night and this morning! The food was delicious, the company was delightful, and I laughed so hard! I had a nice, enjoyable, relaxing time with my family and ward friends.

Aug. 11: The family vacation has begun in Great Falls, Montana.

Aug. 13: Last day of vacation at Glacier National Park, Montana.

Aug. 15: I gifted myself two things for my birthday this year: surgery to fix my broken uterus, and tickets to see Pink in concert. Unfortunately, one of them had to happen on my actual birthdate, and the other won't happen until October. But the good news is: the surgery was basically free because I've already spent my out-of-pocket max for the year, and I survived it so I will be able to see the concert pain-free!!!

Aug. 17: After watching an entire season of "The Great Food Truck Race" yesterday, I've been wishing that our town had a food truck! All those burgers, sandwiches, and foreign foods looked like they would be delicious!

Aug. 21: The boys had so much fun playing with their cousins at the Family Fun Fair night tonight! Thanks TAC team for an awesome night! We enjoyed it!

Aug. 22: Today was the last day of teaching my boys piano lessons for this summer. Ammon fulfilled his goal and began playing in church for the men last Sunday. Jonah and Micah did pretty well until Micah's huge meltdown during today's lesson: he was outraged that he couldn't pass off a song (due to not practicing) and screamed "WHY do we have to learn piano ANYWAYS?!" Music is a life skill & I will always stand behind its importance!

Aug. 24: I just love the portrait he drew of his dad Josh Tolman, don't you?!

Aug. 25: I finished decorating the walls of my music classroom today! Now it feels more real that school will be starting again in just 2 days. And now that my room feels ready, I'm also feeling much more prepared and excited for the new year!

Aug. 27: I loved the first day of school! I sure enjoy my job as elementary music teacher!

Aug. 29: Looking forward to seeing Ammon's first XC race of the season tomorrow! He's been working hard at practice and I'm sure it will pay off!

Aug. 29: Josh is glad that college football was on TV tonight. I, on the other hand, am glad that my twins chose (on their own) to watch the musical Annie on TV (without any prodding from me). It's taken me years to get them comfortable with wanting to watch musicals--and it makes my heart happy to know that they are willing! The baby steps to bring culture into this sport-dominant home of boys are paying off!!!

Summer 2013 Top 10

Since today is the last day of August and Labor Day weekend is here, that means Summer is officially over. The summer of 2013 hasn't been the greatest: our truck's transmission died and was expensive to fix, Kanyon got bit by our dog & the dog died, I had to endure 2 surgeries and a terrible hospital stay, and it seemed like we had a lot more work time than play time. But we did have opportunities for family together time and we managed to still complete everything on our Summer Top Ten list!

1. Attend the Tolman Reunion [done 6/22]
This was one of my favorite days this summer! We loved attending the reunion in Jerome at Kent & Sindy's home on Randy's ranch. It was the perfect combination of kids' activities and adult relaxation and good food! Plus, we got to spend the whole day with family members that we love!

2. Watch the boys' soccer games [completed 6/27]
The soccer season ended in June, and the 3 younger boys all played. They did a wonderful job and really grew in their soccer-playing abilities. It was enjoyable to watch them succeed at the sport that they love playing!

3. See Ammon compete in golf tournaments [completed 7/24]
Ammon competed in 3 regular tournaments in July in eastern Idaho, and a 2-day district tournament at the end of the season. He had several challenges that affected the scores in his game, but the final day of his last tournament, he played really well and got a great score and it was a good way to end the season!

4. Participate in cousins camp [done 6/15]
The boys had a great time spending a whole day and camping overnight with their Perkins girl cousins. They went swimming for hours at the Logan Aquatic Center, ate a nice BBQ dinner cooked by Mick, walked & played at a park down the road from their house, and slept in a backyard tent together.

5. Celebrate the 4th of July with the Tolmans [done 7/6]
Gideon & Alyssa and Malachi & Molly came up for the July 4th weekend, but Tiffany's family couldn't come this year. It was a 2-day event on Friday beginning with the parade. That weekend, we had a nice lunch outside, slid down on the homemade waterslide, played in the backyard, had our own exciting fireworks show, and watched the demolition derby on Saturday night.

6. Go camping somewhere new [done 8/12]
Every summer I like to go camping to one new spot. This year, we camped in tents (a FIRST for our whole family together) right outside Glacier National Park. It was definitely an adventure--and not something that I'd like to do again in the near future!!!

7. Visit Gma & Gpa Parsons in Montana [done 8/11]
We like to take our boys to visit one of their great-grandparents each year. This summer we went to Great Falls Montana to visit Josh's Grandma & Grandpa Parsons. We had a nice visit, a lovely dinner, and Grandma treated us to exquisite accommodations at a nearby hotel! It was an awesome trip to see them!

8. Vacation to Glacier National Park [done 8/13]
This was our one family vacation this summer. We went to this park last year too, but we saw different places and went to different locations this year. We were there for only two days/one night, but it felt like so much longer because we got so much done! There will be lots more info about this trip to come!

9. Josh golfing in leagues [completed 8/6]
For years, Josh has wanted to golf on the Tuesday night Men's League at the Salmon Valley Golf Course. He finally made that be a reality this year! He and I also golfed on the Couple's League on Friday nights like we have the past few years. He likes seeing his golf course through the eyes of a player instead of a Superintendent, and he {mostly} enjoyed playing on the leagues in the evenings!

10. Party for Kala's birthday [done 8/17]
My actual birthday wasn't a party at all--I had surgery and spent the afternoon/evening resting and recuperating. But for the following days after, I spent time with my friends and family and liked celebrating my special day for four days!

I love Fall; it's my favorite season. I love the sights and colors of harvest, I love the leaves falling and the Halloween decorations and the pumpkin patch selling days. I love the feeling of the cooler nights and the warmth of our home. And I'm looking forward to doing fun things with my family during this upcoming autumn season!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

the value of work

In a previous post "Summer Fun in Salmon" (click here to view), I talked about some of the fun things that Jonah, Micah, and Kanyon have done this summer. But I didn't mention Ammon once in it...did you notice when you read it and wonder why? Well, it's because this was the first summer that Ammon really wasn't here a lot. He went to 2 scout camps--one with my dad's scout troop from Utah in the middle of June, and one with his own scout troop from Salmon the last week of July. Both camps were in Idaho: the first was at Aspen Ridge (near Preston) and the second was at Camp Bradley (near Stanley). He also went to a 4-day Aaronic Priesthood Encampment in Shelley with thousands of other boys from eastern Idaho at the end of June. In addition to the time spent at scout camps, he was also gone several days in July to compete in golf tournaments around eastern Idaho.

When he was home in Salmon, he wasn't really AT our home a lot because he worked a TON this summer. He mowed lawns with Josh every Thursday, Friday, several Saturdays, and a few Tuesdays. He picked up some more of his own clients, and he helped his dad with the lawns that Josh mows, too. He also refereed youth soccer games the whole month of June, and was paid for it (and he did a great job at it, too!). He also worked every day that he was here for his Grandpa T. on the ranch. He changed pipe a LOT this summer--since none of his uncles were here to help. When the hay fields were tall enough to cut, then he didn't have to move the sprinkler pipe on them anymore. Instead, he had to move the hay bales (after the hay was cut and baled) to different areas on the ranch to store them. Grandpa T. even taught Ammon how to drive the hay-hauling truck which has a manual transmission. Ammon really enjoyed learning to drive stick-shift, driving the big truck, and doing the mature job of hay-hauling. Grandpa's payment to Ammon for all the work he did for him was this:

He has loved his motorbike, and has gone on several rides with it. All summer long, he kept saying it was "Totally worth it" working for Grandpa in exchange for the motorbike. But just this week, after going to school, then running at cross country practice for a couple hours, then coming home only to eat dinner before having to leave to go haul hay bales until it was dark, he was extremely exhausted and I heard him say on the way to the shower that he "wasn't so sure it was worth it anymore"!

He has really learned the value of hard work this summer, and we've hardly heard him complain at all about the workload he's taken on. We are very proud of him for his perseverance and the help that he's been around the house and also to his dad and grandpa. He's following in the ways of his hardworking dad, grandpa, and great-grandpa. I'm grateful that he has the opportunity to work outdoors and alongside the great examples of his dad and grandpa.

I've always loved this quote, and used to have it framed on a wall in our home: "Teaching our children the value of work is a treasure that will last a lifetime". The lessons he's learning about how to work now will be valuable to him for the rest of his life, which I feel is a rare trait that youth possess in today's world.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Roll & Tell Time

Today I begin my 4th year of teaching music at the elementary school in Salmon. I teach grades K-5, and the elementary students (K-4) come to me for 45 minutes twice a week. I teach a block schedule, so most of my students either come to me Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday. There's a few things I've implemented since I began teaching that I want to share.

Since the kids come to me twice a week, I like to do a different introductory time for each of the 2 different days. One day a week at the beginning of class, we sing the Star Spangled Banner and do our "Braindance" (dance + exercise) routine to music. The other day a week, we do "Roll & Tell Time", which is a listening and sharing exercise using the Sharing Star (only the person with the Sharing Star talks).

The first year I implemented this, the Monday students told about what they did for fun the previous weekend, and the Thursday students told about what they were looking forward to the next weekend.

The second year I used a new and different system. The Student of the Day in each class rolled two dice, and the two numbers were combined (not added) to create a 2-digit number. Each number had a correlating "Favorites" question that the students answered. Here the list of all 36 numbers and the Favorites questions we answered:

#11: Food
#12: Drink
#13: Dessert
#14: Candy or Candy Bar
#15: Snack Food
#16: Ice Cream Flavor

#21: School Subject
#22: Thing to do at Recess
#23: Cafeteria Lunch
#24: Book
#25: Song
#26: Sport

#31: Color
#32: Number
#33: Animal
#34: Toy
#35: Hobby
#36: Part of Physical Appearance

#41: TV Show
#42: Movie
#43: Cartoon
#44: Electronics Game
#45: Board Game
#46: Household Chore

#51: Thing to do with Family
#52: Thing to do with Friends
#53: Activity to do in the Summer
#54: Activity to do in the Fall
#55: Activity to do in the Winter
#56: Activity to do in the Spring

#61: Place to Visit
#62: Vacation Spot
#63: Thing to do on the Weekends
#64: Restaurant
#65: Store to go Shopping at
#66: Happy Memory

I created a new and different "Roll & Tell" system again for this school year, combining a few aspects of different board games. Instead of rolling two regular dice this year, the students will roll just one dotted one as well as an alphabetical dice from the "Scattergories" game. The letter they roll will correlate with the starting letter of an adjective on a card from the game "Apples to Apples". The number of the dice will correlate with an amount of time. After rolling, the Student of the Day will make up a sentence using both the adjective beginning with the letter rolled and the space of time correlating with the numbered dice. Here's the list of Adjective cards to go with the Alphabetical dice (some of these cards I had to create because they weren't included in the "Apples to Apples" game):
A is for: Awesome, Appetizing, or Artistic
B is for: Busy, Boring, or Brave
C is for: Colorful, Comfortable, Confused, Cool, or Courageous
D is for: Depressing, Delicious, or Dangerous
E is for: Easy, Exciting, or Encouraging
F is for: Fantastic, Friendly, Frightening, Funny, or Fun
G is for: Great, Good, or Grateful
H is for: Hilarious, Helpful, or Hard
I is for: Intelligent, Important, or Impatient
J is for: Jolly, Jealous, Joyful
K is for: Kind, Crazy, Creative, Cranky, or Cute
L is for: Lazy, Lucky, or Loud
M is for: Misunderstood, Magical, or Mischievous
N is for: Neat, Normal, Nice, Noisy, or New
O is for: Odd, Overwhelming, or Outstanding
P is for: Playful, Peaceful, Painful, Patriotic, or Powerful
R is for: Relaxing, Responsible, or Risky
S is for: Smart, Scenic, Speedy, Silly, or Strange
T is for: Tough, Talented, or Tasty
W is for: Wonderful, Weird, Wild

This is the list of amounts of time to correlate with the numbered dice:
1 - today
2 - yesterday
3 - this week
4 - this month
5 - this year
6 - your life

So, for example, if I were the Student of the Day and rolled a letter R and the number 3, I would pick an adjective on one of the R cards. Then I would make up a question that included both the R adjective on the card (Relaxing) and the space of time (this week). I could ask "What's the most relaxing thing you've done this week?" and then pass around the Sharing Star for the students in the class to answer. This new system will take more thought, but the students will be in charge more of creating their own questions for their classmates instead of me coming up with all the questions. Our school is using the "Leader in Me" ideas from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People this year, and I feel like this new "Roll & Tell Time" goes along with that idea of the students becoming leaders.

I want to note that I use a completely different system for my Kindergarteners, because this would be way too complex for them to understand. I just ask them a unique question that has to do with each musical lesson, and that has worked pretty well for their level of learning.

I'm excited for this new concept and I hope the students will all enjoy doing something new during "Roll and Tell Time", too!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer Fun in Salmon

This is some of the random things the boys have had fun participating in this summer...
For a few days in June, we went to the park every afternoon for Free Kid's Lunch and
Art in the Park.
Jonah and Micah enjoyed making duct tape projects every day, and Kanyon's favorite part was painting rocks.

In July, they attended 4 half-days of   
Bible Day Camp
put on by the Baptist Church. They made crafts, had different learning centers, ate lunch, had water activities, and played different group games each day. It was a new experience for them and all 3 had a great time!

In June and July, the boys participated in the Library's annual
Summer Reading Program.
There were 4 afternoon programs having to do with the year's theme of "Dig into Reading". They learned about gardening, underwater & underground animals, archeology, and cave exploring. Each time they went to an activity, they had a group reading time (I was so happy to be the Guest Reader this year!), then learning time with different professionals, then craft & snack time. The boys also made reading goals, and they read at home to earn prizes at the end of the program. It was really organized well this year and was a good experience for the boys to participate in.

For the first time, I signed up Jonah and Micah to be in a 
Horse Riding Camp.
They went 4 different afternoons in July & August to the class at the Whitewater Therapeutic Arena and learned how to take care of and ride horses. This was a new experience for them, and they absolutely loved it!!! They were good little horse riders!

And of course, one of their favorite summertime activities was having lots of  
Play Time with Friends.
And they had lots of it! One of Kanyon's best friends Keagan came over almost every Friday to play while his mom worked, and the boys spent a lot of time playing in the ditch, riding bikes, playing guitars, and swimming at the pool. They had so much fun!

One of Jonah and Micah's best friends Mason came over a lot, too. His mom walks with me daily, and whenever we walked in the evenings at my house, she would bring Mason over to play with the boys while we walked. My boys really looked forward to my daily walking time just so they could play with Mason! They even had a few sleepovers this summer, and I took my boys to Mason's house to play a few times, and they went to the pool several times to swim together, too.
It's been a fun summer for the boys! I'm so grateful for opportunities for them to play and have a good time as well as learn new things!

Sunday, August 25, 2013


One of my 2013 goals is to invite others over once per season. The perfect get-together opportunity in the summertime was to host a BBQ. I used to have a big one every summer, and then I didn't have any at all for 2 years. Josh and I discussed dates, and decided to do one the first weekend of August. We hosted a smaller BBQ this time, but it was very relaxing and I truly enjoyed the company. We invited 3 families over: the Evans', the Lamont's, and the Tarkalson's. The boys helped me make preparations all day in anticipation of the evening dinner, and they were so excited at the prospect of having friends over that they didn't even whine with the list of chores I gave them! After getting the yard and house ready, then I got to work preparing food. I handmade the hamburger patties this time around. I'd been craving them for weeks and couldn't wait to eat them! Josh grilled them for us when the company began arriving.

The ladies all brought lots of food with them, too, and we ate a really good dinner of hamburgers with all the toppings, deviled eggs, watermelon, berry parfait, chips & dip, broccoli salad, and several delicious dessert choices. The adults sat on the deck to eat, then we stayed around the table talking and laughing. The conversation was so fun and light, and it was a delight for me to be surrounded by great friends after eating comfort foods!

The kids ate on tables set up in the yard, and then they played in our backyard and Grandma's neighboring yard for hours. The kids all got along with each other, which was so nice for me because I never had to intervene: there was no fighting or arguing or bullying or whining to stop. The ditch was full of water, and they had fun playing in that for a while. Then they changed activities and began entertaining themselves by throwing apples off of Grandma's trees at each other, and they made a war out of it, which lasted for a long time. When they finally got tired of that, I yelled at them to clean up the mess (which they did), and then the party ended! 

 This has been such a fun goal for me to work on this year! It always helps me feel motivated to clean my house, it helps me work on my hosting skills, and I get to spend time with people I like (and we usually eat good food while doing it, too!).

Thursday, August 22, 2013


For the 5th summer in a row, Ammon competed in the Idaho Golf Association's Junior tournaments in Eastern Idaho. As a 13 year old, he's advanced to the older competition level, and now golfs 18 holes instead of 9. He signed up for 3 regular tournaments and the 2-day district tournament this summer. The tournaments were all in July, and most of them were scheduled on Mondays. We looked forward to the new circuit of golf courses, as most of them were different from the 9-hole courses that he previously had played on.
His first tournament was on July 8 on the Blackfoot course. Unfortunately, I had my appendix taken out the day before, and was still in the hospital, so neither Josh nor I were able to go to that tournament. Thankfully, Pup (the Salmon Golf Pro) said his son was going to that tournament, so he took Ammon to and from Blackfoot for us. He was a real life saver! Ammon scored 102 at that tournament. He wasn't really pleased with that score, and was hoping to improve at the next tournament.
The next tournament was on July 15 at the Pinecrest Course in Idaho Falls. Unfortunately, in the middle of the night before it, Ammon got the flu. He slept the whole drive there (2 1/2 hours), and we had some errands to do before his teetime. He kept using the bathroom repeatedly, and he tried keeping down some 7-Up. I didn't know how he was going to be able to golf for 4 hours after being weak and so sick. We told him he didn't have to golf, and that we would drive him back home if he would rather, but he insisted on trying. Josh and I watched him golf several holes to make sure he was okay before we left to do some more shopping. We came back to watch him finish his final two holes. He surprised both Josh & I by golfing all 18 holes while being sick! He was a real trooper and scored 100.    
The following week, on July 22, his tournament was at the Teton Lakes Course in Rexburg. He'd never golfed this course before, and he didn't like it. He struggled with his game and got a score of 103. Josh took him for me that day because the very next day (July 23), I took him to the Sage Lakes Course in Idaho Falls for Day 1 of the District Tournament. I watched him tee off the first hole, then I drove back home to Salmon.
It was his first time playing on this golf course, too, and he didn't do very well--he got his worst score of the season: a 104. We made plans for him to picked up by Pup's son after the tournament (who was also competing in it), and he stayed the night at Pup's family home in Rigby. He had a fun time hanging out with Kolton that night--and it was a real highlight of his golf season! They took him back to the tournament at Sage Lakes on Day 2 the next morning for us, for which we were SO grateful!
I drove back to Idaho Falls again the next day (July 24) and picked him up. I made it there about 15 minutes after he was finished (he had an early tee time), so I didn't get to see him golf at all on the 2nd day. He'd had a great tournament that day and had made a huge turnaround from his worst score the day before; he had 10 less strokes for a total score of 94!! He was so happy with his score, and I was so glad that he got to end the season feeling good about his game!
Overall, this year's golf season was pretty rough on Ammon with new courses and sicknesses, but he continued to play on and try his hardest despite the challenges. This was Kolton's last year competing in golf tournaments (the youth competitions end at age 18), which means that next year Ammon will be the only kid from Salmon competing in the IGA Jr. League. He doesn't mind being the only one--I think he's used to the lonely sport now because most of his friends play baseball in the summer.  But since Josh works at the golf course, Ammon gets to freely spend a lot of time there and he likes it, even if he plays alone.