Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Swimming



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Tried out the YMCA pool and childwatch yesterday. Had a blast.

Funny Stuff they Say . . .

so I don't forget

Lydia: "Mom, how does Santa find our house . . . oh year, he uses a Tom Tom I think!"

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Lydia: "Mom, what does pray without ceasing mean?"
Elijah: "Duh Lydia, it means you close your eyes when you pray!" (ceasing=seeing)

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Bethany: "How 'bout"

as in:
Bethany, what can I get your for breakfast?
"How 'bout cheerios and milk"

Bethany, what song do you want before bed?
"How 'bout baa baa sheep and nen Twinkle little Sta-ra"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wondering . . .

I wonder what is best for my children every day. I thought homeschool was the best thing and it seems to have been a very wise decision. It has allowed us to transition slowly into living in a new place. It has allowed me a lot of flexibility with going back to Wilson and the beach.

Today though, I watched my 5 year old seriously struggle with relating to some kids his age at a McDonald's playplace. I wondered if he is getting enough time to socialize. I look at my Sparks and it is very obvious who is homeschooled and who isn't. Those that routinely walk in lines, wait their turns, know how to be a part of a big group and those that don't. I wonder what I want, what God wants, for my little boy.

I struggle daily to get school done with my two little ones distracting. I love that EJ can go at his own pace, that he is reading so well when other Kindergartners might not be and that he is happy to play and learn with me. Then we struggle or something comes up like a car appointment and school doesn't get done. I feel horrible about that. I feel like I am short changing my little boy. I also feel like I am short changing the girls. Instead of playing pretend and playing with them I end up letting them do their own thing while I "do school" with Elijah. They are learning a lot too but still, they are little and should have fun playing.

The thought of him being gone everyday is unbearable to me. The thought of someone else teaching him, him learning bad things from other kids with different backgrounds, him teaching other kids bad things he's picked up . . I am terrified! I don't know what to do.

Right now I am doing what I do best . . .researching it to death. I am getting feedback, exploring options, finding out what is out there. I think that going and obeying a teacher, being part of a classroom would help him. Socially he is awkward. He is very smart but very quirky too. I think helping him learn what "everyone else" does would be a good thing. I don't want him to conform but I don't want him to stick out either.

I am praying. Am I the best teacher for him? Should I be doing things differently? I guess knowing that I could always fall back on homeschool is making me braver in this quest. If we give it a go we can re-evaluate in December or at the end of first grade and decide. Take it year by year, month by month if we have to.

All these decisions . . .I want to do what is right for my son.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Christmas

A girl and her piggie . . .Ho ho ho---yes we're THOSE people. We have Christmas hats (and stockings) for our pets :)


We decorated on Sunday. I love our tree. There isn't a single ornament more than 3 feet from the ground. We have snowman lights, candy cane lights and santa and his reindeer lights on the tree too. It is a tree the kids did themselves and they love it. I love Christmas.

Van Awesomeness






Went shopping with hubby over the weekend. Left the kiddos with nana and found my dream car. It is wonderful! We're getting a DVD (hopefully this week). I was sad to see the Subaru go, its been a great car, but I am thrilled that no one can smack anyone in the van. It is wonderful!

Awesomness


Last Thursday, I got back form MOPS with the kiddos and saw a FB message from Lori, a fellow Summit Church member asking about a cake for FRIDAY. Normally I don't do cakes on such short notice but she mentioned that another friend, Judianne, had recommended me because they needed something without eggs. I spoke with her and got the details . . . 400 people, new restaurant catering event and a bakery that wanted to charge $1500 to do the cake. Um-yeah-crazy. She talked with the restaurant owner and he agreed to pay me $300 for one nights work, buy all the ingredients with me and give me free reign in his kitchen and use of his staff.

Let me just say, I do NOT do spur of the moment. But I did. I said "Yes" I quickly packed the kids' stuff up, told them they were skipping naps, called Justin, and headed out the door for one of the most awesome experiences ever!

Dropped off the kids, swapped the car with Justin so he could pick them up and headed to the restaurant.

It got off to a rocky start. He was supposed to meet me at 4pm but didn't get there until after 5. We got lost on the way to the grocery in 5pm downtown Raleigh traffic with me driving. We finally got our stuff and I got to the kitchen. Got in the kitchen and there was ONE oven--one, only enough to bake 4 layers at a time. I had to make 22 layers. Each one had to bake for 40 minutes. It was feeling a little like "Kitchen Impossible"!! They only had one very small mixer (smaller than one I had at home) but it was all I had to work with so I got started mixing, buttering, making cake. While the cakes cooked I prepared the fillings and icing. As soon as I got layers out I put more in. I had a little assembly line going on. It was fun!!! I kept a smile on the whole time!!! I didn't have to wash a single dish and they were literally showering me with praise and good (SPICY) food! 55 cups of flour, 16 lbs of sugar, 7 cups of butter . . .oh yeah!

by the end of the night we had 6 HUGE cakes (3 layers each of cake, one layer of a honey ball Indian dessert and another dairy dessert from India with icing and fruit garnish on the top). Unfortunately by the time I rescued my camera from my purse in his office all of the 6 masterpieces had been put in the fridge and I wasn't allowed in that part of the kitchen. I did however manage to snap a pic of the flowers for the sheet cake. How pretty huh?

Anyway--I walked in our house at midnight. 5 solid hours of cooking and decorating. It was AWESOME!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Day in the Life

So I saw this on another blog and thought I would do my own "Day in the Life" so that in a year or two years or ten years I can look back and see what my life was like.
2am: Lydia comes in my room after a nightmare, she flips and flops around instead of going back to sleep.
3:30am: Still flipping I put Lydia back in her room, she isn't asleep but at least I can sleep.
4am: Bethany comes down the hall, I put her back in bed.
5am: Lydia comes in, she is still awake and hungry and wants to know if its morning time. I tell her to have quiet time in her room until I get her.
5:30am: Daddy hears the banging and comes up, turns off her light and puts both girls in bed.
5:45am: Elijah is up, gets his sissies up and we start our morning.
6am: Breakfast--this morning it was cooked meuseli, normally its cereal and milk. Daddy ususally gets breakfast started and gets the coffee brewing. Daddy normally also helps with the mornings dishes if the kids have eaten quickly.
7am: Daddy heads upstairs to get ready, we start playing and I get Elijah started on homeschool. Coloring sheets are his favorite so he does those first. I try and check emails and I check the calendar for what we have to do today.
7:15 am: Math--usually 2 or 3 lessons in his Horizen's cirriculum while the girls play toys, crawl over us, make huge messes.
7:30am: Reading--Usually I read a story to get us started and then do the reading in 100 easy lessons with the girls and Elijah picks a level 1 or 2 book to read. If he's tired or grumpy we do it so I read a page then he reads a page.
FREE PLAY--get the bugs out and make a big mess. Daddy usually comes down around 8am and we say goodbye to him as he heads to work. Elijah will show daddy some work and usually send him off with a drawing.
8:15am: Writing, Lydia practices letters, Elijah does his workbook and Bethany colors.
8:30am: Craft/stories/free play/chores--if we have to dust or vacuum or do laundry this is when it gets done. I might also let them watch a program if I need a shower. Today we got all the Chrismtas clothes put in drawers and unpacked from our weekend away.
8:45 Spelling with Elijah while the girls continue playing or do "stations" with activity bags
9am: Snack
9:15am: Free Play or errands. Grocery once a week, sometimes pet smart if we have guinea pig needs.
10am: Playdate or Storytime at the library or outing to the park or cul-de-sac to play. Backyard play. Today we put up Chrismtas lights.
11: 45 I put on a program so I can make lunch
12pm: lunch
12:20 I clean up and the kids play, working on quietly calming down for naptime
12:45 I read stories and try and get everyone napping. Ej and Lydia lay in their rooms and I have to hold and rock Bethany until she falls asleep--usually about 45 minutes. The biggest drawback to no paci and a big girl bed :(
If it is before 1:30 I will try and nap, if not I will start cleaning up and doing chores or check FB and email.
2pm: Elijah is up and we play and have alone time together, might do school stuff if we missed it in the morning.
2:30pm Lydia and Bethany get up. Wake up time and snack.
3pm: Bible time! We learn our Cubbies verses and do a devotion/coloring sheet/craft
3:30pm: Free play or a program or outside time. Chore time.
5:30pm: Program while I start on dinner
6pm: Dinner
6:30pm Bath time
7pm This is when daddy gets home on an early night. Otherwise its just us. Stories, snuggles, bible and bed.
7:45 pm kids asleep
8pm I start cleaning up from dinner/crafts.
9pm I fold laundry and watch something on Netflix while I wait for Justin to get home.
10pm Justin gets home on the late nights, we watch something on Netflix or Hulu while he eats
11pm Bedtime

Portable North Pole

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gobble Take One

We woke up this morning and started in on the baking. If there is one thing I've learned is that we can get the baking done quickly but the clean up takes me all day. I have champion taste testers and they are big helpers, cracking eggs, dumping sugar and flour and more. I love to cook with them.

We made a pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, chocolate cappuccino cake with icing (I sold one for Wilson this weekend), two sweet potato casseroles and a big pile of herbed corn. YUM!

We had whipping cream left over so I made some whipped cream. Elijah walked in, read the container, saw the sugar and vanilla out and yelled "Cool Whip!! All right!" I was doubly impressed that we didn't end up making sweet vanilla butter from over whipping the cream since I had three very enthusiastic helpers for that.

Yum!
My potato peelers--I baked the whole pan of spuds, coated in crisco, last night. They were cooled off and ready for the little hands this morning.


Beautiful! I don't have any idea how to make a pretty edge on my pie but I just got some leaf cutters from Wilton and the girls and I went to town putting leaf cutouts of dough around the edge. I think it is very nice!! Even put some on top of the sweet potato pie so I could remember which is which.

Last night, BEFORE cleaning up the day's messes, I allowed myself some craft time. I am pretty sure if the cuteness police come knocking I am going to get locked up. All three kids will be sporting these (elijah has a grey tshirt instead of a white turtleneck and no bow on his turkey.) I can't wait!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Beaching Beaching :)

We headed to Wilmington last Friday to check out the aquarium and visit with cousin Bradley and cousin Tracy. It was fun. Vetrans day is one of the "free" days though so the aquarium was swamped. It was really tough! I felt like the kids were being completely wild and out of control. They are used to "our" aquarium and I NEVER plan for outings like this during the afternoon. Expecting them to drive 3 hours to the beach, have lunch out with a cousin then be obedient in the aquarium was a huge error on my part. EJ ended up melting down during snack time before we left and I was just mortified. He did an all out screaming, crying, sobbing rant. It was horrible. I knew I had just pushed him past the breaking point. I feel guilty when my desire for fun turns out that way. Thankfully they kids all got a second wind, had a great trip home, ate well and had fun playing. We all slept in one room which meant that none of us really slept all that well.


On the way back to Wilson I called Justin and he was SICK. I didn't want to catch it so the kids and I plugged in Atlantic Beach on the new tom Tom (early bday present from my parents--AWESOME!!!) and headed to the beach house. Who knew that it was going to be high 70's in November?? It sure was nice though!
a little fun in the sun was just what the doctor ordered!

A Little Homeschool Rant. . .

I'm trying to become secure in my decision to homeschool. We weren't expecting to do it until we moved here and the prospect of a less than desirable school was our only option. I am really enjoying it and enjoying talking with other mom's who homeschool. Some are homeschooling for different reasons, some are homeschooling way further than I would expect to do it, but we all want what's best for our children.
Here's a couple of things I want to address for my own sake and for me to remember back in 10 years!!

1) I am NOT trying to shield my child from reality. He see's orphans online through the compassion videos, we have gone to the Durham Rescue Mission, we sponsor two children and talk about what they have/don't have. He is exposed to reality on a regular basis. Why does his reality have to be sitting in a classroom of peers, getting what snippets of attention he can from an overwhelmed teacher? Who decided that at age 5 it was time to stick our children out "in the real world" ? I would rather him have discretion to know that cool isn't right and just because everyone else does it doesn't mean he has to. Right now, at age 5, he is very impressionable. Who do I want impressing my son? I don't get a do-over. I don't have a delete button. Once he sees it and hears it it will be with him forever.

2) I am not depriving my child of social situations. Every week we have two or more playdates. We have Lego club that is all ages of children. He is with his sisters and learning cooperation, sharing, leadership and more. We go to church and Awanas. He doesn't sit all day in a classroom with 25 other students, but how much real socialization is happening in that setting?

3) I want my child to know that he is a blessing to us. I want my child to know that I care about him enough to raise him in a Godly way, teach him Godly things and spend time with him. I want my child to spend the majority of his day being doted upon, using his imagination, playing, running and laughing. If my child wants to color in everything on his math sheet before doing the problems I am fine with that. If he wants to count dinosaurs and add on pages with superheros and write about dragons then I let him. He is counting, he is learning and he is practicing his writing.

4) I don't want my child in a room all day with other children who don't learn like he does or at the rate he does. I don't want my child to be ignored or act out because he is bright and bored in school.

We are liking homeschool though it is tough. There are sacrifices that the girls and I have to make. The benefits are huge for us right now. We can do a beach unit and spend the week at the beach. We can take field trips to Wilmington to visit family. We can do homeschool anywhere! The kids can nap in the afternoons, we don't sit in a carpool line and we can stay in our pjs until noon.
Right now its the right decision for us. We're evolving. I don't know what the future holds for us. Homeschool may or may not be a long term solution to the schooling issue.

For the record, I don't think that people who send their kids to school love their children any less, care about them any less or feel like they are making a poor decision. We had Elijah signed up for school when we lived in Wilson. I didn't feel very strongly one way or another. I am trying really hard not to judge how others are raising their kids.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Happy Halloween

It poured on Halloween. Lydia didn't want her Rapunzel dress wet, Elijah didn't want to go out at all and Granny and Grampy drove down anyway. It was fun. Ej handed out candy and had a blast staying home with Grampy and Daddy and getting to see all the costumes. The girls all braved the weather, went out with our neighbor Kaitlyn and had fun. We had tons of trick or treaters despite the pouring rain so we handed out all the candy that we trick or treated to them too. We kept some chocolate and let Elijah and the girls knock on all the upstairs bedroom doors and tick or treat for candy. They thought that was hilarious and ended up playing "Halloween" several more times that week. Daddy donned his Doc Oc costume I had made from pool noodles and Elijah/Spiderman captured his foe with silly string spider web. It was a lot of fun but I sure wish the weather had cooperated and we could have done that part outdoors. Silly string isn't the best to clean up. Thankfully daddy had the foresight to hide in the bathroom.





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It poured on Halloween. Lydia didn't want her Rapunzel dress wet, Elijah didn't want to go out at all and Granny and Grampy drove down anyway. It was fun. Ej handed out candy and had a blast staying home with Grampy and Daddy and getting to see all the costumes. The girls all braved the weather, went out with our neighbor Kaitlyn and had fun. We had tons of trick or treaters despite the pouring rain so we handed out all the candy that we trick or treated to them too. We kept some chocolate and let Elijah and the girls knock on all the upstairs bedroom doors and tick or treat for candy. They thought that was hilarious and ended up playing "Halloween" several more times that week. Daddy donned his Doc Oc costume I had made from pool noodles and Elijah/Spiderman captured his foe with silly string spider web. It was a lot of fun but I sure wish the weather had cooperated and we could have done that part outdoors. Silly string isn't the best to clean up. Thankfully daddy had the foresight to hide in the bathroom.

Family Pictures






Last weekend we had family pictures made. I am so thankful for photographers with children. Sigh--what is it about my kids and getting pictures??

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Busy Weekend

Last Week we got the playground--its been a long 3 months without it! We were missing our little backyard refuge. When the guy installed it he had to dig to make it level and it was pouring rain. The girls didn't mind so much but EJ flipped out at getting his feet wet. Bethy was thrilled to be big enough to use the double swing now.

We got slightly muddy--and I ended up feeding the kids dinner AFTER bath because they were that nasty.
I absolutely love how EJ is pouting inthe background.
A day later--once things were dry--Elijah was happy to have it back. Here he is with DRY feet and a smile.
We carved our pumpkin on Saturday. It was fun for the girls but Elijah wanted nothing to do with the slimy pumpkin guts. He was also mad that we switched the smile for the pumpkin to make it happy instead of mean.





Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Beachin' it

It is becoming a new tradition, the annual mommy and kids October Beach trip. The water is still warm enough to get wet, the days are warm (we had temps in the low-80's for most of the week) and the crowds are non-existent. I love it!

I have yet to figure out Blogger's logic in uploading prints so here for your viewing pleasure, in no particular order, some pics from the week . . .

Elijah on the sound at low tide.Grampy and Granny joined us Thursday night and stayed through the weekend. It was fun to have them with us.

We carved a "fish" pumpkin.

We went to the indoor pool twice and got some great new underwater shots of EJ and Lydia.


Went to Fort Macon and the beach there. The tidal pools were a big hit with the kids.


While waiting for Granny and Grampy to get there Thursday night I may or may not have let the kids put a little bubble bath and then turn on the jacuzzi jets making a SUPER bubbly bath to play in.




Granny and the kids at a tidal pool. I LOVE the fact that Lydia is chasing Bethy and trying to push her down. Snapshot of real life, let me tell you!
Baby on a sand dune.
Before Granny and Grampy came I wasn't brave enough to do indoor pool but we totally rocked the beach. We went three times. It was great!

I am having a hard time figuring out if Bethy likes the beach or not, do you think THIS expression gives a clue--that is one beach lovin' baby!

And its coming... I can almost taste it it is so close . . . the day when I can pose the children and say smile and get the desired response without having to do something silly like fake sneeze a bucket off my head. Its coming, but its not quite here.
And that is our beach trip in a nutshell.