We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are." ~Marjorie Pay Hinckley~

Loehrmann Family Favorite Recipes

Thursday, January 31, 2013


Found this from an online LDS site today:

Many individuals today make the false assumption that failure is the worst possible outcome. Contrary to popular belief, it is not failure that is the worst possible outcome but rather mediocrity.

Failing is definitely no fun but at least it allows you to move forward in a new direction or start afresh. Mediocrity on the other hand gives the illusion that you are accomplishing something when in reality you are merely moving from side to side. It wastes your resources, energy and most importantly, it wastes your time. Failure lets you move on whereas mediocrity stalls you and keeps you from reaching your potential.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


A neighbor kid gave Lukas a Razor Scooter that she's long since grown out of. They're around $50 new, and such a fun toy, so it was with great joy that Lukas accepted the generous gift! He rode that thing allllll afternoon! We did adjust the handlebars so they weren't all up in his chin anymore. Wanted to catch the moment of him zooming by.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mormon Battalion Day in Old Town San Diego

Since Jared volunteered to man the rope-making booth in the morning, we went down to see the sights set up in Old Town in honor of the Mormon Battalion celebration. With all the rain that morning on the way down, I was grateful that we all had boots on to stay warm and dry as we trudged through the muddy grass there! Lukas was thrilled with the rope-making contraption where Jared was helping, and got to messy his hands making sod bricks at another booth. We watched a large parade comprised of mostly young missionaries, all dressed up in old-time battalion clothing- with name-tags on. Even the sisters were in old pioneer dresses, and made a special point to call to Lukas and wave at him. What a fun day to be a missionary, I thought! We found some fun simple wooden toys that kept Lukas' attention for quite some time. Now I just need to head to Michael's and get a couple of parts to make him a few simple things! There was also a music tent set up, and Lukas is still singing "Oh My Darling Clementine" here and there throughout the day. I was most proud of my boys when they pitched in to do laundry, the old-timey way, and am keen to go buy a washboard and let the boy wash his own socks, while he still thinks such work is super fun.While playing with the marble runs, it was announced that there would be basic training for the Mormon Battalion kids parade. Given the choice to hold a little flag or a big wooden gun...well...you see what he picked. Then he and Papa marched around the big square, those little legs trailing along well behind the others, but marching nonetheless. With a stop at the Old Time candy shop for a lemon sugar stick and some taffy, we ended the day there. 


Here are the DIY projects I picked up from this day: 
Homemade tops, and a marble racer.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

When sick... create art.

We (by we I mean Lukas) recently broke a slat off the blinds. Because we rent an apartment, someone always comes to fix things. We kept the junk, and painted it for Valentine's day. Then peeled a ton of skinny crayons to make our own. 400 for 5 mins. And the fire alarm went off every time we opened the oven. Oh joy.

BBC and Mister Rogers were a big hit today, along with a string of books and nap time. And Lukas is so KIND when he's sick. I kind of like sick Lukas. Just a little though....

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Scarlet Fever. Lose 5 Days.

The only benefit of having scarlet fever is that you get a ring pop after waiting for 2 and a half hours at urgent care. Yeah! I'm so grateful for modern day antibiotics! Otherwise, the complications of his strep throat that caused the onset of the rash (thus the Scarlet Fever) could have caused him heart issues when he's older. Think heart murmers. Whew. For a second there it was like I was playing The Oregon Trail:"Your kid has cholera. Lose 5 days." I'm so grateful that God and his angels watch out for this little boy, and that he was such a trooper during all that waiting. We read lots of Curious George, a few more chapters of Abel's Island, and most of a Magic Tree House book. Can't wait til we get to switch to a normal pediatrician in February! It's tricky navigating the whole "real insurance" part of a "real" job.  Never assign child to a PCP in a Community Clinic on accident.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Pirate FHE- Arrrrrr!

We had FHE with Elder Wittle and Elder Goble, our friend Jill and her two girls. We had a pirate treasure hunt to learn that "You are a child of God and he has a plan for you!" Jared dressed like a pirate (epic) and the kids had handkerchiefs on their heads. They went from clue to clue, and found scriptures, a picture of Joseph Smith, and then a gold rock with their little message attached. All three kids have hung onto that rock or the message all week. Lukas held his little rock in his palm for most of his doctor visit (with scarlet fever).

These Elders have been awesome in our ward. They're super friendly to the members, get along with each other so well that they even made a photo Christmas card to hand out (haha!) and after we were asked to participate in a recent baptism, Jared got called as the Asst. Ward Mission Leader.  I am super grateful for missionaries who are outgoing, who help my child be excited about doing missionary work (and going on a mission someday!) and who aren't afraid to talk about spiritual things, and teach with the spirit.

Elder W. got transferred the very next morning after this picture to work as an Assistant to the Mission President.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

He Sells Seashells by the Seashore

I can tell he's tired of the picture taking. We found TONS of shells on this day. I guess the water is a bit more wild during these "winter" months. Although windy and a little chilly, we had a wonderful day at the beach! In January!  We collected tons of beautiful rocks, and we zen-i-fied the bathroom sink by lining it with all different colored rocks from the beach. We also saw a seal out in the ocean today, which was pretty special to see! And Lukas had quality Papa time, which they both just love.

Friday, January 18, 2013

CA January Winter Playdate - Sunset Park

 ...Aaaaaand, it's a good thing we brought dry underwear and shorts. He was soaking wet. This jeans picture was after they dried out in the sun and he was back at the water for more with his little friend Will. Notice "Detective Do-Right" in the picture with Samara, who is sharing her pirate snacks. He goes everywhere with us now, thanks to the primary president's challenge, and Lukas and the other kids are thrilled to get to put fuzzy balls in the jar at Primary when we email in their pictures and stories. I'm grateful for the camera phone/web-in-phone technology!!  When I said that Det. Do-Right was watching, he asked if Det. Do Right was Heavenly Father, and I just began to imagine the mental pictures this kid must have of Heavenly Father with a green mask and cape. Pretty cool if you ask me! Why not, right?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Double Peak Park

There's this place in the area where you can drive up this huuuuge incline, then look out over the mountain, and see the edge of the continent for miles. It's beautiful, and has so many things to explore! Besides the view, we found inclines to slide, a cool playground, and a huge lake with surrounding bike path and bridges. The ducks were happy to eat whatever got thrown in there as we bobbed up and down on the floating dock.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Science Bears

Omili sent us some cool Pixibooks for Christmas, and one of them is entitled "Experiments with Water" and you would not believe what easy and fun experiments there are! An added perk is that they sometimes call for something especially appealing: like Gummy Bears.  Omili sent a slew of those too...the kind from Germany, with beet juice coloring instead of red dyes that irritate my kiddo's body. We tried to see if the bears would get wet in their tea-light boat when we shoved a glass over them and pushed em to the bottom. Aaaaand... nope! They were dry as a bone, surprising one curious 3 year old!

Friday, January 11, 2013

16 inch Bike for the 3 yr old self-proclaimed "Profi"

 We found this bike on sale after Christmas, and hid it away, perhaps for Lukas' birthday in April. But seeing him on his little bike, with knees almost hitting the handle bars, Jared reeeeally wanted to put it together and let him ride it sooner. So while the neighbor girl Tynara was at our house making glue and sprinkle letters with Lukas at the table, Jared unboxed the shiny new red bike. Then we all went outside to watch it's maiden voyage. And when we asked Lukas how it was he replied, "Es tut mein Bum weh!" (It hurts my bum!) Since it's taller off the ground, we have to lower the seat all the way for his feet to touch the ground,  but then pedals are up a bit higher, so his little buns are getting an extra workout until he grows a couple more inches. He can go much faster though, and enjoys the thrill of the speed so much that the added gluteus workout doesn't seem to phase him. Thanks little yellow $6 bike! You did a great job for almost a year of riding! We're so proud of Lukas for his willingness to try hard things!!

 And here we were earlier in the day at Shadowridge Park, in the cool lower windy 50s. Yes, we were some of the people being made fun of on the news as those news stations spoke of people "freezing" in LA, and the surrounding areas due to the 'frigid' temperatures. Bwaah ha ha. I know on paper it is truly pathetic, but after being here in warm-land for so long it really shivered me timbers!! I even wore Jared's big jacket and a scarf around my head!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Building a Tower to the Chocolate Stash

"But i didn't climb on the counter mom!"- says Lukas with chocolate ring around mouth. And then to save himself: "I wanted to get one for you mom, 'cause you like the schokoballs so much! I'll leave one for Papa 'cause he likes them so much!"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sneaky Preschool

I was aaaaalmost tempted to start a new blog this week. If I did (but won't) I'd call it Sneaky Preschool.  I use the letteroftheweek.com site, and www.mommywithselectivememory.com every once in awhile. That second site has cool stuff like this:
Activities to Develop Fine Motor Skills:
  • Pouring sand, water, salt, sugar, rice, or beans using bowls, funnels, spoons, cups, tubes, rolls, colander
  • Sorting small objects with interesting textures like cotton balls, pastas, sponges, and rocks placing them into egg cartons
  • Pushing objects through a slot like pennies or buttons into a Piggy Bank or container with a slit in lid; pushing pegs into a board
  • Picking up marbles and putting them in a jar; for variety, have child stand up and drop marbles into jar or drop balls or other small objects into container or sack
  • Building with blocks, logs, legos
  • Lacing with lacing cards – poking string through holes and pulling
  • Grasping wooden puzzles pieces and placing correctly
  • Arranging rocks, leaves, beans, cards, pasta, sticks or whatever interests child
  • Picking stickers off page and successfully placing onto something
  • Playing with Play Dough and clay: pulling, pressing, stretching, rolling, pounding, squeezing, pinching
  • Squeezing glue bottles, water guns, sponges
  • Shaking bottles of glitter
  • Beading necklaces with yarn or pasta wheels and lacing string
  • Pushing pipe cleaners into foam shapes with center cut out or push into colanders
  • Marking with fat pencils, crayons, markers, and sidewalk chalk
  • Cutting with child safety scissors which are blunt and fits hand. Opening and closing the scissors as well as cutting increases hand strength.
I wanted to put that there so I could have it for later. I was thinking about how I dislike scheduling for small kids, because it adds unnecessary stress and frustration for both of us, and really in the name of "exposure" and "what-if-he's-the-next-super-star-in-this-thing" that I have noticed myself almost get sucked into a few times. Just ask Jared. 

Case in point: 
A year or so ago, when Lukas and I were still riding bikes all over Davis,CA and I heard of a simple city-run gymnastics class for toddlers. Since Lukas was doing flips off the couch, and had even done somersaults, I thought it would be awesome for him.  It was a good 3 mile bike ride there and he had fun doing the parent & child obstacle course, running down the super long trampoline again and again and again, and was cherry red in the face at the end of each class- smiling.  I was proud of him. He showed strength, coordination, and enjoyment in the gymnastics area that were amazing for his age (but don't forget that his body is like two years older than the baby inside since he's soooo tall and so big.) 

A week ago, at a friend's house, the kids were doing somersaults and Lukas didn't do one. Couldn't do one. I don't know. But those crazy freaking out alarm bells went off, saying "How did you let that go? Maybe we should sign him up for another class! How sad to see that "talent" go to waste? And what of the joy he felt then? What if it wears off and he won't "want" to anymore?  I do let him watch shows now (after getting enough smileys on his job chart) and didn't back then. Have I ruined it? Is he going to love being inside more than outside because there are only outlets inside (reference to book: Last Child in the Woods).

Fast forward a few hours later when Jared tells me, basically, to chill out.

I remember that we're outside hiking a ton. Christmas candy buzz will eventually wear off. He's three for peat's sake. He loves to play. I can just 'play' that again at home.

Fast forward to Monday night FHE. We had pulled off all of the couch cushions and pillows that morning for "tumbling time" where I provided techno music/rap care of my hands, couch bass, and knees,  while Lukas danced around, did somersaults, and flops all over the living room. 

Crisis Averted. (sarcasm)
Why do I do these things to myself sometimes? I'm not a mom to push my kid into stuff, or make him head somewhere "because we're paying for this" (because we're never usually paying for something) when he's in his own little groove. It's not 'bad' it's just not my cup of (caramel latte) tea. We've been asked three different times from different people since moving here to participate in their little preschool co-op. I've declined each time.  He just needs to play. FREE Play. Structured school comes soon enough, and free play has been proven to be the best method to develop language and social skills, says Parents magazine Jan 2013 pg. 102. and the State Preschool Teacher I worked with in Davis. I'll find more (better) sources soon for sure.

To remedy my feelings of feeling accomplishment in the area of my kiddo's learning, though, I generally feel like I do some things to give me the sense that what I teach and do with him matters, and I have something to show for my time during the day. A few homemade posters here and there do the trick for me. "Evidence of Student Learning" we called it in elem school teacher land. It should be called "evidence of teacher's confidence that she's teaching something and the kids are doing work to show that she's teaching something so we can put something on the wall outside the classroom"  There's truth to the "something on the wall" though!

I like to sneak in learning in the mornings.. all nonchalant. While he eats breakfast we chat, and at some point I mention the Bb up on the wall (Because he's eating. He's trapped. He's focused while chewing. I mean, what else is he gonna do? LOL) And we remember which things start with the 'b' sound. We come up with all kinds of things and funny words too.  Then we do some kind of activity to identify the weeks's words or just the letter in print. Either play on the chalkboard for literally a minute, his hand on mine as we write the letters, or we just read together and we yell something ridiculous when we find a letter of the week in print. Usually the books are titled/themed with something that has that letter in it. I just grab a small stack out of his room for the week. Random "B" books. Or we bust out something sensory which is usually messy, i.e. FUN. http://www.mommywithselectivememory.com/2012/02/finally-learning-letters-sensory-way.html

Then he just plays something else (since the glue, etc was playing, right?). My new thing is sneaking over to the piano in the mornings now and play for awhile.  Maybe I can even practice something for me right? (Hello "Dozen a Day!") Usually I play "Wee Sing" songs and just sing em out-loud. And hey, if they start with B, all the better. Often he'll grab instruments and join in, or just keep playing whatever he's playing and hum, sing, or not. Consider it English vocab learning too, right? ("Mom, what's a puffer belly?"- Down by the Station) Then I play the Primary Song of the month and the Primary Song of the Year each morning now (for like 2-3 mins), and sing em. Even if he doesn't then, they'll come out later-- while hiking, or playing in the bathtub. And having worked in primary, I know that those Gunn kids sang those songs at home because they knew em so well, and it wasn't all from church. Otherwise, the other kids would know em better, right! LOL

I'm tryin' to be more purposeful about what I do, and more focused, rather than taking two years to make it through the letteroftheweek.com. haha. But sneaky... sneaky.  (And if he doesn't have ANY interest in that exact activity right then, I'll slip it in during some other time of the day. Because, I mean, it's not 'real' school. I'm not paying for it, and... please.... he's three. lol)

Then, when morning jam sessions are over, maybe it's Visiting Teaching time, or tumbling time (juuuust checking to make sure he's still 'got it') or table time with some random fine motor skill activity (playdough, scissors), or I'll  have him help me with household things, then play. And play hard. Riding bikes, or hikes up mountains. Places where he can notice peace, and animals, and creations, and scream loudly, run freely, go at his own pace, with long stretches of going or lots of stops to look. And I get to do those things too!!! It's super liberating. Less downers, more movement, more fitness, more fresh air breathing, more sunshine on my face (well, most days anyways), more time to think, and relish in the little person I'm with.

And sometimes, we'll even find the occasional carved tree with the letter of the week on it. (Big A, little A)
Can you imagine someone carving that just so a three year old can learn his letters? How considerate and creative of them! He noticed little a and I was surprised. Then big. Then some b's. Then we ate leftover 'B'urritos for lunch. Sneaky sneaky, getting that reinforcement in. Draw a letter in the mud with sticks. Or don't. Or imagine my surprise yesterday when he wants so badly to keep his "V" stick. (Yay, you DO know that letter. Cool!) and I smile at my little boy's nerdy but cool "V" stick and pack it in the trunk, that's full of beach sand and other 'special' sticks.

When 4pm hits, I start thinking about getting home for dinner. Someone's gotta cook. The Man comes hungry at 5 so I need to have hunted, killed, prepared and cooked by then. Since there's mostly fresh stuff, it doesn't take too long. Whew! This was the night we did veggie/bean taco filling inside whole wheat tortillas. Add tomatoes, avocado, maybe cheese inside along with QUINOA of all things, wrap that baby up and enjoy the delicious goodness. (- make quinoa with some chicken broth, or chick'nish which is veggie chicken broth powder and tastes so good AND is cheaper per serving than Costco's organic broth paste!!) And when my kid says "MMMM!! Ich LIEBE Quinoa!" then I feel the sneakiness of learning healthy foods rubbing off. Pack it in a burrito and he likes it. Go figure. He still helps, sneaking in some kitchen common sense about burning faces off, becoming blind from splatters, or bleeding all over from knives, and maybe something about cracking eggs, separating whites, or measuring something. It's messy, but all his "samples" along the way keep his whining at bay. (And sampling freshly cut onion? Really? gross.)

All the schedules and must dos are coming in just 2 yrs. Then it'll be 13 years of school, practices, activities, mutual, scouts, or whatever else the boy finds interesting (and we can afford)... and THEN the time for the long walks in the woods will be kind of over. So I do relish in it now. But there's the itchy question I used to get all the time in Davis, and practically never here: Does he go to preschool? Here kids go because the parents work all day. There in Davis maybe too, but it was also seen as a way of advancing academically.

Now that being said, the boy DID ask about piano lessons (since he has had a man-crush on Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson since he was 18 mos old and asks when he plays the xylophone-- just like Jon Schmidt, huh? LOL) And I seriously wondered.... really? And "what if...." and wasted the evening perusing Suzuki method sites, since they start really early. For now though, he just 'plays' next to me during music time on Family nite, or other random times throughout the day. It's funny to hear the songs he makes up, or repeats from earlier, and the conviction with which he sometimes belts it out. ("Falantiding di do")

Sunday, January 6, 2013

First Day in Sunbeams!! Vista 5th Ward

Lukas was beyond enthusiastic to finally get to go to Sunbeams! At the end of church, he had plenty to tell. How was Sunbeams! "Gut, aber die haben kein Essen da!" (Good, but they have no food there!) And he told us about "the big classroom" where they get to put fuzzy balls in the jar, and sing, and look at themselves in the mirror (I am a Child of God lesson). And how some kids got a piece of candy (for their birthday), but how (sudden frowny pouty face on the verge of tears) he didn't get one! We explained that when his birthday comes in April, that he will get a special candy too, and that because today was the first day of Sunbeams, we would be celebrating at home!! His smile reappeared and he showed me his paper from his teacher that he colored, and the stickers on his hand that he earned.  And you know a little tender mercy that's happened? The new sunbeam teachers are Brother and Sister Fullerton, who are in their 50s with teenagers, and she speaks German! And Becca, the primary president didn't even know that when she requested them!! How cool is that?! It was a big day, and our little boy was quite proud to be a Sunbeam in the big room. He sits so reverently in there, walking in with arms folded on Sundays. AhhH! I can't believe how big and grown up he is now!!! Needless to say, he was absolutely exhausted when the afternoon came, and thanks to a new 9am church time, naps on Sunday are back!!