Friday, December 30, 2011

My Future Grandchildren are in Trouble

Today Claire turned to me and said, "Mama, when I get old my kids are going to have rules!"

"Oh, really?  Like what?"

Then she gave me a list:

1.  No jumping on the bed or couch

2.  When you play with a toy, put it away

3.  Chew with your mouth closed

4.  No touching the computer

5.  Being good when Mommy is in the shower

6.  No going down stairs

7.  No sneaking into Mama's room

8.  No running away when you're outside

9.  Be nice to the cats

Oh, it went on and on ... now, I know she was tattling on herself with half of those, but if she keeps up adding to those rules my future grandchildren are in trouble! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Most Wonderful and Busy Time of the Year

It's so hectic right now!  It is a mostly homemade Christmas here this year and I have been going crazy trying to finish everything.  Since family reads this blog I can't talk about anything I'm making.  :-/  But everything is coming out really well!  Well, except for one thing and I ended up having to just chuck them and think of something else to do.  It's a process I guess!

But through everything I did find time to put up a tree, make coffee filter snowflakes with the kids and wrap 90% of the presents.  I have 3 more presents that need finishing touches and can be wrapped and I am hoping to make Christmas cookies with the kids tomorrow.  We will get it all done!  Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Silly boy

It's 10am on a Sunday and Daddy is hiding in the kitchen eating a cookie.  Chandler runs in and says "Daddy can I eat your something?". He doesn't even even know what it is, but his Daddy has it so he wants it! ;)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Figuring Yourself Out

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

Daddy never went to college and I never graduated. 

I spent 3 years in college without anywhere near the correct credits for a degree, that's what happens when you change your major 3 times. 

I would like our kids to go to college, but ONLY if they know for sure what they want to do! 

I spent one year working towards my Human Services/Counseling degree before realizing I would be burned out in a year. Then I started on my History degree with Teacher Licensesure to teach High School History. Surprise, surprise, I quickly realized that me and school bureaucracy would not mix well. I spent one more year just taking classes before I decided to take a break to figure myself out first. Then I met Daddy and after a whirlwind romance, got married and started working at a bank, which I loved! I know now that if I do end up going back to school I would get my degree in Accounting or Business Administration. Once my kids graduate I plan on going back to work in a bank or accounts payable office. At 16 when I started college I never would have dreamed that that would be the right job for me. It sounded so boring, but at 16 I didn't really know myself yet. My quirk of alphabetizing everything and enjoying doing my taxes didn't equal into a job and something I would want to do with my life. 

My point is that I don't really agree with kids finishing high school and heading off for college without a firm grasp of the real world and themselves. It's too easy to incrue 40k in student loans and then realize that you dislike what you are doing and you just want to stay home with your kids.  Or that you now have 100k in debt and you HATE being a lawyer! I know many people argue that any degree is better then no degree, but what if you get a blanket degree in English and then later realize you want to be an Occupational Therapist?  You have more school now ... It's such a big decision and it's a hard one to put on the shoulders of every 17/18 year old who is still dazzled by the world around them.  I wish there was a better way.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Days of Thanks 2011

This month I did the 30 Days of Thanks on Facebook by posting something new I was thankful for each day.  It's a nice reminder of all the little things we should be grateful for everyday.  You have to pace yourself though - it gets a little hard after a week or two!

#1 I am grateful for our cozy little house on a cold morning!

#2 I am grateful for my family. We are always there to help each other out and we actually like each other! :)

#3 I am grateful for my handsome, hardworking husband. He's such a good daddy and my best friend!

#4 Today I am grateful for a paycheck and the money to get necessities.

#5 I am grateful for my daughter. Claire is sweet, kind, smart and very silly. She's a beautiful girl and we love having her in our lives, even if she is rather bossy! :)

#6 I am thankful for my son. Chandler is my snuggle-bug. He's so loving and smart and silly even when he is trying to establish his 2 year old independence! ;)
#7  Today I am grateful for my mother. She has been a wonderful mom and role model, I love spending time with her and I always know I can rely on her. My kids adore seeing her and I love that she has become such a wonderful grandma (or nah-ra as Chandler says)! I love you Mom!
#8  I am thankful for my sturdy van. It might be a total mom-mobile, but I can fit anything in it and it's dependable!

#9 Today I am grateful for the chance to spend an afternoon with my husband! Never thought I would be grateful that material didn't come in! 

#10 Today I am thankful for everyone who was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Thank you for helping preserve our freedoms. I am grateful for all our veterans but especially my grandfather, uncle and my mom!

#11 Just got back from a wonderful wedding. The thing I'm thankful for today? Love. I wish you every happiness David and GG!

#12 Today I am thankful for caffeine! Nicholas went back to the wedding after dinner to hang out with his friends last night and I ended up staying up too late watching a chick flick. ;)

#13 Today I am thankful for sleep and a husband who occasionally lets me sleep in. He got up with Chandler at 7am this morning and I didn't roll out of bed until 10:30! I feel wonderful.

#14 I am grateful for the opportunity to stay home and homeschool my kids. Every time Claire "gets" it the look of excitement on her face makes up for any sacrifices we have made.

#15 I am thankful for a full pantry. Even when times are tough and we only have a few dollars in the bank I never have to worry about feeding my children. We always have plenty!
#16 Daddy is home from work today due to the rain so today I am thankful for laughter, giggles and snuggles. I adore look on my children's faces when they realize that Daddy is home in the morning.
#17 I am thankful that my daughter gets the opportunity to be in a wonderful homeschool co-op. It's full of information and crafts and is casual so no one minds when the kids interrupt or wander off to ask their moms something. They have been learning about the solar system and Claire talks about it all the time!
#18  Today I am thankful for my grandmother. She is amazing. When my mom came home after her divorce she came home with 2 year old me and Grandma and I were a team while Mom worked. I have may wonderful memories of dancing under flower petals, eating sandwiches made into pinwheels, and getting to have tea parties with her fine china. Now I am blessed to watch her be an awesome great-grandmother to my children. Claire adores her Grandma Claire and loves getting to do crafts at her house. I am very lucky to have my grandma! :)

#19 Today I am thankful for books. They have taken me more places then I ever could have dreamed of alone and always gave me a place to escape when things were hard and I needed a time out. They may be an addiction, but at least it's one that opens my boundaries. ;)
#20  Sick today - I am grateful for hot tea and honey, pineapple juice and a wonderful husband who takes care of me.

#21  Today I am grateful for the rain that feeds the earth and provides us with a dark, rainy day to spend in the house.
#22  I'm grateful for my sister. She may be 9 1/2 years younger then me, but we still have an awesome time together. She helps keep me young and keeps me informed of the things those "whippersnappers" are doing! ;) Seriously, I love how happy and fun and loving she is and I think she is growing into an awesome person. And my kids adore their Aunt Annie!

 #23  I am grateful for a strong immune system. I rarely get sick and when I do it usually knocks me down for a day or two and then it's gone. I'm lucky to come from good, healthy peasant stock.

#23 part 2  I have two things to be thankful for today. My wonderful, best Anna. We've known each other since 7th grade and no matter what or where life takes us even if it's been years since we last talked we can always pick right back up like no time ever passed (except for a little catchup!). Our girls are 4 months apart in age and get along really well. I went over to her house today and we made had fun making soap while the girls played and her oldest boy (7 tomorrow!) played with Chandler. So fun!

#24  Today I am grateful for being born in this wonderful country. I am so blessed to live somewhere where even though we are "lower income" we have a warm, snug house, nice clothes, shoes, TWO vehicles, plenty of food and even a television and computer! We are very rich. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
#25  I am thankful that I am not a Black Friday kind of girl. I dropped Claire off at my grandma's house this morning. They are going to make a Christmas village out of milk cartons and then Chandler and I wandered around Kmart and we did pick up one Christmas gift for Claire and Christmas pajamas for the kids. Then we came home and he's taking a nap. So glad to have a quiet day!
#26  It might be silly, but I'm thankful for my pets. I have had 10 cats (Mira, Copernicus, Athena, Little Bit, Ares, Amelia, Pearl, Bonnie, Han and Malcolm) and 1 dog (a miniature dachshund named Lessa) come into my life since I moved out of the house at 17. Some had to be re-homed for various reasons (Mira, Ares, Bonnie and Lessa), some passed away (Copernicus, Little Bit, Amelia and Han) and some are still here, but they all give and gave me love and companionship and now my children get to experience that as well. I'm happy to have our furry friends in our lives.

#27  Today I am grateful for my washer and dryer. We do a lot of laundry in this house and having machines that help me are the only way I keep up. Now if someone would just invent a folding machine ....
#28  Today I am thankful for the Internet. As a SAHM I don't know how I would get to talk to everyone otherwise! I have made some awesome friends on here, some I haven't even met in person yet, but we're all close and here for each other. It's an amazing thing.
#29  I am thankful for electricity. It really is an amazing thing ...

#30  I am grateful to see what good friends my kids are. They fight, but they love each other. When they are without each other they are both upset and ask for each other and give big hugs when they are back together.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My kids show me joy

I have a cold.  I'm miserable.  My head is stuffed and my throat hurts.

Yesterday was our town Christmas parade.  Daddy took the kids by himself because I looked pathetic and didn't feel up for it.  After they left I started thinking about them watching the parade and me not being there.  I almost started to cry (and I'm going to blame that on being sick).  So I called my Mom and asked her to take me down to the parade.  I just couldn't miss seeing my kids enjoy everything and I'm glad I did. Seeing them jumping up and down and clapping at every tiny, small town float going by was a delight.  Seeing Chandler dancing and wiggling his butt to every Christmas carol and Claire shriek every time a person on a float tossed her candy made it completely worth it.  The joy they got out of a blow up rhinoceros, a dog wearing antlers and a girl on roller skates makes you stop.  Christmas is all about being a child.  It's about the wonder of the little things.  The presents are just the candles on the cake.  It's the lights and the hot chocolate and the snow and being with your loving family that is the cake and the icing.  Experience it.

And now I'm going back to my hot tea with honey and tissues and hopefully I will feel better tomorrow. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quiting? Or is it moving on?

Claire has told me she doesn't want to go to ballet anymore.  She's gone to 11 lessons so far - I counted.  She says it makes her tired and then she sits down on the floor and then she gets yelled at.  She showed me how she does the steps (she apparently tries to put a little of her own style in) and then she is told it's wrong.  She told me she just wants to dance at home.

Now the debate.  If I let her quit am I setting her up to quit anything if/when it gets hard?  Or have I let her try something new and she decided it wasn't for her?  Can a 5 year old decide this?  Or is she young enough that we can try again later?  Would I stifle something if I force her to continue?  Or should I give her the freedom to decide her own direction?  What if she quits and then asks to go to ballet next month?  Why is parenting so hard?


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I told him ...

My husband is so proud of himself right now.  His coworker just had his first child a few months ago.  He was sharing with him the difficulties they are having and Daddy gave him advice.  His coworker's wife talked to their doctor and the doctor told them to do exactly what Daddy suggested!  I keep telling him he's a good daddy!  :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This was Halloween, Halloween, Halloween ...

Just had to show off my Sleeping Beauty and 3-eyed Monster!  They had lots of fun and thought Mom approved candy was awesome!  We doled out two pieces each that night and one each everyday until they stopped asking.  :) 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Little Belated - but it's the Fair!

Well, this is a little late, but at least it's here!  Last month was the County Fair!  As I said last year our County Fair is one of the last purely agricultural fairs.  No ride, but just animals and quilts and pies.  :)  It's lots of fun!

Warning for a minor picture overload ...

Big pile of Sheep's wool to feel

Baby Donkey!  Have you ever seen anything so cute?

The kids love the goats

Pretty Quilts

Basket making

Children's entries

BIG sunflower!

Claire and Chandler got to enjoy an ice cream

Pumping water like his great-grandmother!

Claire had to give it a try too

Whittling spoons

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My boy is growing up!

Last night my boy put away another of his baby things and it was a big one. Chandler's crib is no more. Such a big boy! We got him a twin bed and Daddy built a beautiful bed rail for him. On the trip to Charleston he slept in a bed in the hotel room and fell out 3 times each night. We knew he wasn't ready to be in a normal bed without help. We set up the bed and bed rail and then hurried off to dinner at my in-laws. When we got home it was late and it was almost time to get in bed. We were prepared of a long night of "return the baby to the bed" but he surprised us! Daddy read them a book in bed, we tucked him in and he went right to sleep. He woke up on time during the night crying, but Daddy checked on him and he just needed a little comfort before going right back to sleep.

He cracked me up this morning. He woke up and as he does every morning he sat there and called for me to get him. "Mama! Up, Mama! Eat! Mama!" I waited for it to dawn on him that he could get out of his bed on his own. Finally Claire got out of her bed and told him to get out of bed himself. The "Yay!!" I heard was absolutely hilarious! We are such creatures of habit. Or maybe he just inherited Mama's inability to think first thing in the morning. Poor kid!

The beautiful bed rail Daddy built

First bed time story in the new bed

Chandler all tucked in and ready for bed. Happy boy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Well, Horizons Math is a big hit! We started it today after working as far as we could before Claire started getting frustrated in the Kindergarten/First Grade workbook we picked up in Walmart. We pulled Horizons out today and she adored it. We actually did 3 lessons (3 pages back and front) because she didn't want to stop. A very good sign! It was colorful and just a enough easy and new things. We discussed Right and Left today. Something that I imagine will take her a little while master, but I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't even think of introducing it to her yet!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

That's right son!!

As I'm snuggling Chandler he looks up and smiles at me: "Mama, best girl whole world!"

Translation: "Mama is the best girl in the whole world!"

What a little schmoozer! And I love it!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dinner 10-8-11

On the Menu: Sesame Chicken, Rice and Asian vegetables

Soundtrack: Avril Lavigne - I guess I'm feeling a little faux punk ;)

Such a Daddy's Girl!

Claire and Daddy are snuggling ....

Claire: Daddy, you're the best!

Daddy: That's right!

Claire: You're the best worker and the best player! And the BEST snuggler!

It is true .... :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nine Years? Already??

<--- Awww, look how young we were! Nine years ago today, Daddy and I got married. It's been nine years of domestic bliss. Some wonderful years, some very difficult years (I'm looking at you 2009!) but every one of them were worth it. He is my best friend, we still laugh and giggle together and he still tries to molest me in the hallway. He's the best daddy I know. He adores our children and they adore him. Claire says she's going to marry him. (When I say that she can't because I married him she says that we can share him. It's hard to tell your 5 year old that you aren't the sharing type!) I thank God everyday for giving me such a great, caring, hard-working guy.

Nine years ago I was beginning to hate the word "wedding" and I turned to my fiance and said, "I don't care about all this! I just want to marry you! We already have the condo on Hilton Head for the honeymoon, why don't we just ditch this wedding, head down there a day early and get married on the beach where we wanted anyway??" And so we did. It was perfect. We told everyone that they were welcome to come if they wanted. We ended up with 16 guests. My mother and siblings (3), my paternal grandparents (2), Daddy's father, mother, stepfather and siblings (6) and a good friend of mine and Daddy's two best friends with their girlfriends (5). We got married at 5pm on a beautiful, hot sunny day and we all headed to a local steakhouse afterwards. It was exactly what I wanted, casual and small, and the best part of the day that was I ended up married to the best man I know!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Not bad

I don't know why, but Sunday evening I was just dreading this week. I felt like I was stuck in a weird rut and nothing about the new week got me excited. I have no clue why I was in such a funk. Yesterday ended up being a shiver in our blankets and lounge around the house day. We woke up to 29 degree weather!! Brrrr! What happened to Fall? Did we just go straight to Winter? So we watched movies and did schoolwork and the kids played in their rooms. I was lazy and played around on the computer and read and tried to lazy out my funk. It warmed up to the late 60's in the afternoon and the kids played outside in their playground while I sat in a camp chair in the sun and read. That's always good for whatever ails you! :)

Today we took a quick trip to Walmart and had lunch before the kids laid down for a nap. Chandler slept well and I made some more laundry detergent and did a bunch of laundry already. Claire and I did minimal schoolwork (Bible, Math and Handwriting) before we all went outside to play. It's not been bad at all and I don't know what I was dreading so much. Daddy is working late tonight, so I'm glad we've had a good day. Nothing worse then cranky children and no relief at 5 o'clock! Hope every else's day is going well!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dinner 10-3-11

On the menu: Linguine Alfredo with garlic bread

Soundtrack: The Beatles

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Poor little Han

I thought I had posted this before. Last Saturday morning I woke up to find our sick kitten in bed with us. He had passed away in the night. We buried him the next day under our apple tree. It was very upsetting to Claire. Chandler is a little young and I don't think he understood. But Claire and I had to have "the death talk". Not a fun one. She's been bringing up questions and thoughts all week. Poor little thing. Death is a very hard concept to grasp and deal with, I just hope I did it right.

We will miss you Han ...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What am I? Chopped liver?

Picture this: I'm snuggling with Chandler. Nuzzling his sweet, soft hair. I sigh contentedly, "I love you Chandler."

And his reply? "Yeah, Daddy loves me."

Umm, what?! Can we say Daddy's boy??

Friday, September 23, 2011

What a crazy week!

We were without internet for 3 days. Horrors!

One of the kittens got very sick. We were seriously worried about him. He didn't eat for at least 2 days. We got him to the vet and they diagnosed him with a serious upper respiratory infection and inner ear infection. He got a major dose of antibiotic and fluids due to dehydration this morning. We're hoping he will start perking up soon.

Oh, and we had homeschool co-op, ballet and several family dinners. Busy week! Here's hoping for a relaxing weekend ...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dinner 9-17-11

On the menu: Tacos

Soundtrack for cooking (I just have to have music while cooking): Spamalot soundtrack

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I must be crazy

So, on Tuesday we had dinner at my mother-in-laws house. They had a new kitten and the kids had a wonderful time playing with it. My mother-in-law told us it was from a litter of kittens that was now at the Animal Control Center and that the next day was their last chance to be adopted or they would be put down. :( Daddy is such a softy when it comes to animals even if he tries not to be. He grabbed me and told me to check it out and bring home no more then two if it was true.

WHAT?! Weren't we just saying we had too many cats and we were glad when we got back down to two?? But we couldn't just let little baby kittens die.

So, yesterday morning we went down there to see what was going on. Turns out there were 5 kittens/young cats that would be put down that afternoon if no one adopted them. We got there at 11:30 so it really was a last minute stay of execution. I wish I could have taken them all home, but two really was our max. After snuggling with several of them and debating for a few minutes (my mom came to help make a decision) we ended up with the youngest two, 10 week old brothers. They are practically twins as you can see:

The only difference is the one in the back has a stubby, crooked tail. Not really sure how that happens ... The one in the front has been christened "Mal" after Captain Malcolm Reynolds and stubby tailed one is "Han" after Han Solo. Yes, we are nerds! ;) Mal climbed in bed with Daddy and I this morning and snuggled and purred. He's a real sweetie and very affectionate. Han is quieter, but he loves to snuggle. They've been stuffing their faces and seem very happy. I'm so glad we were able to give them a chance!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Second Hiccup

My daughter says she doesn't like Math. :(

We got RightStart Mathematics Level A for her. I thought something very manipulative heavy would be good for my active, intense daughter. RightStart wants the child to try and visualize things and do numbers in your head. They start off very slowly, but she gets so frustrated when I ask her to "imagine" it. I was stumped.

Then I was discussing both problems with my mother (a former homeschool mom) and I had a mini ephinay. Problem #1 (going too quickly through handwriting) answers problem #2! Claire loves worksheets! RightStart has no worksheets ... hmm. So as an experiment I picked up a $3 Math Workbook from Walmart on Tuesday. It's a Math Readiness book geared for Kindergarten and 1st grade. She loves it.

Now my problem - I spent a good amount of money on her math curriculum and I can't return it now. So I guess I'm going to have to do a modified version of RightStart with worksheets mixed in. It's going to be more work for me because I can't follow the easy, set out in front of you lesson plan that RightStart gives, but I want my daughter to enjoy math and I will do everything in my power to help her. Now I just need to figure out next year ... has anyone used Horizons Math? Did you like it? Any suggestions?

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Hiccups

Well, it's not even September and we've run into our first homeschool hiccups. You know it's going to happen, even if you pray it doesn't.

First one is actually a pretty good thing. Claire LOVES her handwriting practice. She's doing so well with Handwriting Without Tears. I should have realized this might be a problem when got her the Pre-K book in April and she finished it in July. We started the Kindergarten book on July 29th, one month later we are at page 47 of 93. Yes, half the book in one month! I figured I had three options:

#1 - Go ahead and get the 1st grade handwriting book.

#2 - Just give her extra practice sheets of my own invention ... for the rest of the year ...

#3 - Get a Kindergarten book from a different publisher to give her the same level work.

There were cons to all of my options, for #1 I was afraid that if I just went ahead and got the 1st grade book she would be ready for the 2nd grade book by January and the 3rd grade book (and cursive!) by next April! While I don't want to hold her back I don't think she will be ready for that ...

For #2 I was afraid that it would bore her and I don't want to loose her motivation and excitement at practicing her letters. Also, I would have to create several practice sheets for her everyday.

The only con I thought of for #3 was that the letters would be formed slightly differently. I'm not sure if that would confuse her or not. After considering it for a few days and asking advice from some awesome fellow homeschool moms I decided that option 3 was my best bet. So I ordered the Kindergarten workbook from my runner up when I was deciding curriculum Zaner-Bloser. I hope she likes it and I figure when we finish it I will just go to the Handwriting Without Tears First Grade book or we can continue with Zaner-Bloser if she loves it.

Well, I have children who require my attention, so I will talk about our other hiccup in a later post!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Life is crazy! Soon I will sit down and write out a few good posts, but I just had to share this tonight.

Lately Claire has been regaling us with her version of jokes. None of them are very funny, but we humor her. An example is this one:

Claire: Knock, knock!

Me: Who's there?

Claire: Claire

Me: Claire who?

Claire: Claire the silly girl!!

And then she dies laughing. Haha. ;-/

So tonight Daddy decided to teach her a real joke. It went something like this:

Daddy: Why did the chicken cross the road?

Claire: I don't know.

Daddy: To get to the other side!

Claire, acting very excited: And then the truck deaded him?!

Umm, no dear.

What can I say? She's our child ...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

We have a PLAN!

Why do I feel like an evil Mwhahaha needs to go with that?

We have all of Claire's Kindergarten materials together! This is the plan for the year:

Language Arts

We have "The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching", Handwriting Without Tears - Kindergarten and Explode the Code 1. We've been working with OPG since around April and Claire really enjoys it. We also got the Pre-Kindergarten level of Handwriting Without Tears at the same time and she's already finished it! She loves her handwriting books! After 2 days of working with the Kindy level one we were already at page 15! We haven't started Explode the Code yet, I'm waiting until we get a little further with OPG. We started using a slate and chalk for Claire to practice her letters on, but we found it was difficult for her to write, so I picked up a small whiteboard and it's working great.


We have RightStart Mathematics, Level A. We haven't gotten very far on it, but I liked that it was manipulative heavy.


Umm, yeah. That's pretty much it.


Since it's just Kindergarten we will be doing experiments. Once we get into the school year swing of things it will probably be one a week. We got "Stepping into Science" from Timberdoodle to start us off. I also have two Science project books give me ideas. "Bubbles, Rainbows and Worms" is science experiments for preschool, but I figure her brother can enjoy it as well that way.

Social Studies

We have "Beginning Geography" to start us off and I will add in from the many books we have lining our house for History, etc.


I guess I would call this Critical Thinking? I got the set of "Developing the Early Learner" from Timberdoodle. Claire LOVES this. It's very simple for her in the beginning, but it's nice to have things that are easy every once and a while. :)

Of course all of this is supplemented by many, many books! Claire and I are reading "The All-of -a-Kind Family" by Sydney Taylor right now. I also have the "Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Little House on the Prairie" books that I hope to read this year. Some days I think it all sounds ambitious and some days I don't think it will be enough! But the first year of homeschooling is all about learning for the child and the parent!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our "school" area

We are slowly getting a good routine with Claire's schoolwork. We live in a small house and we do our schoolwork at the kitchen table. But having a small house with minmal closets makes it difficult to organize everything. So this is what we have:

This is an older picture from when I was just figuring it out, but yes, that is my kitchen appliance/schoolbooks/craft supplies/board game shelf. (Excuse the messiness, it's real life!) ;)

Here it is the other day. I got the bags through Thirty-One, Claire's bag has the things she needs for school. Chandler's has his "school stuff" (a set of letter flashcards, Lauri toys and a Mario notebook with crayons). The rubbermaid box is the wooden pieces for letters from Handwriting Without Tears, the white box is the manipulatives for Claire's RightStart Math and her science stuff is next to it. It's not a perfect system, but it's all I have room for and it works for now. Our kitchen is a bit crowded, but there really is nowhere else to put it! Someday I will have an area that can comfortably store everything, but I have the feeling we'll always do out school work at the kitchen table!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The end of an era ...

When my husband was a young teenager he started growing his hair. He has had waist length hair for about 15 years - longer then we've been together. He has gorgeous hair. Women stop him all the time and drool over it. It's thick and straight with beautiful blonde streaks. I mean, look at that hair!

Last night we cut it all off! He's been talking about possibly doing it for a few months, but we wanted to be sure before I cut it off. I mean, he's had that hair for a long time! I cut my hair and the kids hair, so I knew I would do his as well. I asked him if he wanted to go to a hairdresser at least for the first time, but he said he trusted me. ;) Here it is all braided for Locks of Love and ready to cut!

The ponytail is gone! I think he's kind of rocking a sexy Johnny Depp look here. I wouldn't have minded him keeping it like this! He said later that he might grow it to this length later. :)

Yep. That's 21 inches of BRAID!

And the big reveal ....

my gorgeous husband ...

I did marry a handsome man!! I think I did a pretty good job. He really likes it! And of course, that's what matters!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Good Deals

I'm very pleased with myself. Daddy, the kids and I went to Asheville today just to get out of town. We didn't have much money to spend, but there is nothing available in our little town and sometimes you just need to get out. Claire is shooting up like a little weed, so I kept my eye out for some new clothes for her in the Back to School sales that are going on. I ended up getting her an entire outfit for $22!

The shoes were from Payless for $9. The pink shirt was $4 at Old Navy and the hoodie and pants were $4.24 each at The Children's Place. She's very excited. What girl doesn't love new clothes? ;)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My son rocks!

One year ago (July 15, 2010 to be exact), Chandler was evaluated because of delays and lack of weight gain. He was diagnosed with a speech delay (he was 17 months old and speaking at a 10 month old level), and sensory issues which made it difficult for him to eat. He wouldn't pick up food and would freak out if anything got on his hands. He was under the 3rd percentile on the growth charts, only 19 lbs at 17 months old! We started off with occupational therapy once a month, a psychologist every other week, the nutritionist once a month and a speech therapist every week. That's a lot of appointments!

By November Chandler had improved well enough the the OT felt comfortable discharging him, with the psychologist and nutritionist still monitoring him while I still did some at home therapies. In May 2011 the psychologist said he would always have his little quirks (not a surprise, he is my child!), but she was done with his therapy. By now the nutritionist was only coming once every other month. Chandler was slowly scooting up in weight and was starting to consistently reaching her goals for him each visit. His weight-for-length wasn't really increasing, but that's because he was shooting up in height at the same time! But we adored his nutritionist and loved for her to come. He was continuing with speech therapy once a week and we were really seeing improvement there too.

On July 12, 2011 Chandler's speech therapist cam and did a new evaluation since we had seen so much improvement. A normal score is anywhere from 85-115. When we started he was scoring 75. He scored 106 and 111 on the two different sections! What an improvement! He is DONE with Speech Therapy!

On July 14, 2011 his nutritionist came and his coordinator joined her for our yearly review. He was 50% for height and nearly 10% for weight! We signed the paperwork for him to be discharged from the program and he is finished with all therapies! I am so proud of him! Almost exactly one year and he went from serious delays and 4 therapists coming to work with him, to being completely finished and excelling! No one can tell me that Early Intervention doesn't work! I am so thankful for everyone who worked with us and I am so proud of my son!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I have my computer back! I still have to organize it, but I'm so happy to have a real computer back! There will be one change you will see here. I'm going to go ahead and use my kids names instead of pseudonyms. I realized there's not too much of a point. Their pictures are out there and it's pretty hard to track someone down with just the child's first name!

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. Life is complicated. Claire (formerly known as The Girl) got pink eye last week and Chandler (formerly known as Little Man) has had random fevers the last two days. Claire and I have been doing more schoolwork, we started our Math curriculum! So far we really like RightStart Mathematics. We are doing a slow entry into regular sit down schooling, we have started doing Phonics, Writing, Bible, Thinking and Math regularly. I still haven't added Geography or Science and we are only doing school 2-3 day a week for the summer. Our local school starts back on August 4th - isn't that incredibly early? I think my goal will be regularly doing a little of everything by September. I will do a rundown of our coming school year soon!

My daughter for you

Me: "Claire, we have to clean your room today!"
Claire: "Why?"
Me: "Look at it! Where is your floor?"
Claire: "Under those dolls."

Well, that's true ...

Monday, July 18, 2011

:( I'll be back soon ...

I dropped the laptop and we had to perform last rites. :( We traded my mom for a desktop tower she wasn't using. Thanks Mom! But now my uncle (Thank you!) is trying to recover the things that were on the laptop and put it on the new desktop for us. My mom loaned us her old, cranky laptop in the interim and I am so grateful to be able to get online, but it is not the easiest! I will be back ... I had just taken pictures for a new post when it happened too. Hopefully we will get the computer back in the next week! See you soon!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hello Bright New World!!

As of now I am a completely Stay at Home, Homeschooling Mom!! Excuse me ... *~*~* HAPPY DANCE *~*~* This weekend was my last day at work!

When The Girl was about 1 year old I quit my full-time job as a loan officer assistant (which is pretty much a loan processor) which I really enjoyed to stay home with her. But we needed more income so I took a part-time job as a waitress in the evenings. After a year I was asked to be a closing manager. I've been there over 3 and half years and this part-time job has slowly become more and more. Also in this last month Daddy got a new job that requires him to go all over the area for jobs. Sometimes he's here in town, but sometimes he has to drive an hour or more away! That makes it very difficult for him to be home by the time I need to be at work which brings us to the other problem ... we've lost some of our babysitters! My mom and sister works, my mother-in-law is busy and my grandfather just had knee replacement surgery so my grandmother is very busy helping him. All in all after several very long discussions Daddy and I agreed it would be best for our family for me to quit work for now. We will have to be frugal - my income paid for any extras - but we will make it work. Happily I left on good terms and I was told by several managers that I would be welcome back at any time, so that is nice to have in backup! But now I am looking around the house that has been neglected due to us both working and I have a very long list of cleaning and organization to complete! Allons-y!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Scottish pride

Yesterday was the "Taste of Scotland" festival in town. We live in a little town in Western North Carolina and these mountains host a proud Scottish Heritage. My husband and I both have some Scot background (him more then me, our last name has a Scottish background, my great grandmother was Scotch-Irish) and we never miss a year! Unfortunately I forgot my camera, but I did snatch a few with my cell phone. We arrived just in time for the parade of the clans with the all the bagpipes going! I may be weird, but I love bagpipes! :) We also got to see the Knobby Knees contest of all the men in kilts and lots of wonderful Celtic dancers and singers! There different venders and some clans have tents up as well. This year the man at Clan Young stopped us and told us that he had some child size kilts that were bought for a wedding and we were welcome to try them on and take pictures. You don't have to ask me twice to get the chance to see my son wearing a kilt! He wasn't sure about the kilt, but he loved the sporran and he cried when we took his "belt" off. Does he not look absolutely adorable? And no, he did not go "traditional"! ;)
The Girl got her face painted and was so excited. It's hard to see in this picture - but she got a butterfly on her eyes. But I got to see how grown-up she is now. Daddy, my mom and a friend of mine were talking and I was standing next to her while she was in line and she pushed me away and said, "No, mommy, don't stand with me. Go with Daddy and Grandma." So, I started to walk the five feet to where they were standing and she stopped me and said, "Wait Mommy! Give me the dollars!" Sure kid. Handle the transaction by yourself. How old are you again? And people say homeschooled children are shy and reclusive ... they've definitely never met my child!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Please excuse the mess!

Changing the email address attached to this blog was MUCH more complicated then I expected it to be and now all the pictures are missing all of the sudden! I am not happy! Please excuse me while I try to get this all fixed!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Homeschool Update

I just wanted to do a quick update on Kindergarten! We have decided to do year-round schooling because I really don't see any reason to take a summer vacation. The Girl begs to "do school" most days and if she's eager to learn I don't want to tell her no! Today she asked me, "Mama? After nap can we do my education?" Is she not wonderful? Plus I think if we school year-round I will have a lot more lee-way and relaxed schedule because we know we will get our 180 days in without even trying!

The other day my brilliant girl wrote out "BED" and sounded it out! So proud of her! We're making very good progress at reading.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Memories ...

I have had a storage unit since I first moved out of the house when I was 17 years old. This week Daddy and I emptied it out! There was so much stuff I forgot that I owned. I sorted and donated 15 boxes of books to the local Friends of the Library bookstore. I only kept six boxes! Daddy has promised to build me another bookshelf if I find somewhere to put it! ;) I also found 3 boxes of my old toys. What a trip down memory lane. I even had the corsage that my Mom gave me at my first ballet recital when I was 5 years old! Some things you just can't throw away. The Girl found the box of my old Sylvanian Familes and had a ball playing with them. There is not much better then watching your child enjoy something that you enjoyed as a child! So much fun!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Officially a grown-up!

I am the proud owner of a mini-van! My sister has already made the soccer mom jokes, but I don't care! I can fit everything and the kids have plenty of room and there is room for anyone else who may come along. :) It has rear air conditioning and a DVD player that we have to figure out how it works. The kids think the automatic door is the coolest thing! I'm very excited, but I have to admit I do feel like I'm "officially" a grown-up mom now!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

5 years old?? Already?!

The Girl turned 5 on Monday - yes, my daughter's birthday is 6/6/06! At least it's easy to remember! I'm still in shock that I've been a mother for 5 years. She's so tall and beautiful and smart and silly and a pain in the neck! ;) Seriously, she makes my world wonderful even if she frustrates me and teaches me much more then I ever expected! It's it amazing how we expect to teach our children so many things and they end up teaching us more about ourselves and the world then we ever thought possible.

We had her birthday party on Saturday. She kept changing her mind on what theme she wanted. Originally she wanted a ballerina party, then a Barbie party, but we finally settled on a Sleeping Beauty Party. It's very hard to find just Sleeping Beauty stuff so we agreed on a pink party with a little Sleeping Beauty things.

Her beautiful Sleeping Beauty cake made by Creative Confections by Amanda - didn't she do a fantastic job? And the cake was delicious too!

Our porch all pinked and purpled out!

And last, but certainly not least - our gorgeous Birthday Princess! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I hit a couple of thrift/resale stores today because The Girl is shooting up and outgrew 90% of last years summer clothes. She's so tall and skinny and it can really make it difficult to find her clothes that fit right. She has a very long torso and long legs. But I managed to score a pair of Land's End sneakers (she fit a size 12!), a really pretty "birthday" dress (Maggie & Zoe), 1 skirt, 4 shirts and a pair of pajamas for $31! Not shabby ...

And there's nothing better then watching your little girl spread out all her new clothes and admire them! She's so excited!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Poor Amelia ...

This morning my husband walked out to go to work and found my cat laying in the lawn. She was gone. :'( We always make sure our cats are inside for the night, but last night I couldn't locate her. Right before we went to bed I thought I heard a cat cry on our front porch, but when I looked I couldn't see anyone. We had Amelia for over 6 years!

I was working at a bank when someone brought in a basket of kittens to see if anyone would be interested. I picked up the sleek little gray one and she just nuzzled into my neck and I knew I had to get her! That person was smart - three kittens were adopted by me and my co-workers! When I brought her home she immediately started exploring the house without fear so we named her "Amelia" after Amelia Earhart. She was quickly adopted by our older cat and they've always been close. I hope Athena will be okay without her. When we started having children she was great with the kids and never minded them loving on her. When they got too rough she just walked away. She would spend almost every evening on my lap or curled up next to me on the couch. She was "my" cat and would always greet me in the morning. I'll miss my sweet Amelia!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

We left our hearts in Charleston ...

Last weekend we had a wonderful opportunity to go to Charleston, SC for a couple of days. My brother-in-law lives there and he was so excited to see the kids. He promised three days of worn out kids! And he was right!

We planned on leaving at 6am and we were on the road at 6:09am! Even with giving the kids frequent run around breaks we got to Charleston at 12:30. We immediately met up with brother-in-law and headed to his house which just happened to be 2 blocks from a beautiful beach access. My children have never seen the beach and it was wonderful! The Girl just dove on in and didn't even let me get my pants off before we were in the water! She had a wonderful time jumping waves with her uncle and Daddy. Little Man is my more cautious child and he was a little nervous when we saw the waves. He kept saying, "Hurt! Hurt!". So I just sat with him at the edge of the waves and we played in the sand and waved "Hi Water!" and "Bye Water!" as the waves came up to us. Eventually the waves came closer and closer and he had no problem when we were sitting in the water. By Sunday (our last day there) he was jumping (little) waves and yelling "Fun! Fun!". That's my tough guy! He may be a little nervous and cautious about new things, but once he watches for a little while and as long as we are patient he will jump on in! :)

Saturday we walked around downtown and saw a neat little farmer's market in the park. The kids got to ride a pony - which they LOVED! Could The Girl have had a bigger grin on her face? Then we walked next to the water down to see Battery Park. At that point we were all hot so we decided to go to the beach by the fort on Sullivan's Island, but a storm was starting to blow in so we took a few pictures at the fort and headed for dinner. It rained while we were eating and was a beautiful, cool evening by the time we got out.

Sunday we got to go back to the beach. It was low tide and we found some wonderful creatures. The kids loved seeing the hermit crabs, starfish, conch, and few dead jellyfish. The Girl decided to start a shell collection and we found her some really neat ones! After a few hours we headed to the pool to rinse the salt off and play a little more before having to head back to the mountains. It was hard leaving. The Girl said , "I want to live in Charleston, Mommy. Our town is yucky!" ;) We ended up tearing ourselves away at 3 in the afternoon, so we didn't get home until 9 at night. And it was SO cold! We left a gorgeous, sunny, 80 degree day in Charleston and came back to a cloudy, rainy, chilly 50 degree evening! Brrr!! Take me back!!

Beach pictures: