Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Minivan Life

We did have a little excitement back in March!

To give you a little back story... 

We sold Michael's car when we moved back to Ohio.  He was working from home and we only needed one car.  When he went back to work and needed a car, we weren't in the position to buy anything extravagant.  He got a used Acura.  It was old ('96), but it only had one owner and was in excellent condition.  The price was right, and that is what he had been driving for the past 3 years.  But then one day it just stopped working.  He had it taken in and they told him that almost all of the parts were original and they just needed to be replaced.  But the costs was in the thousands--waaaay more than it was worth.

So we spent that weekend buying a minivan!!!  Michael has wanted a minivan for years.  You heard that right.  It was his top wish list car! (Outside of a Lamborghini, of course)  And I'm not a mini van hater.  I mean, I love my Santa Fe, but minivan's are nice too.

I don't have any pictures of the kids climbing around the back, but they were both OVER THE MOON excited about the minivan.  Seriously.  They thought it was thee coolest thing they ever saw.  Ha!  It's the little things.

So that left us with 3 cars.  The Acura didn't work, but we figured we could at least sell it for parts or to a mechanic or something.  Every mechanic or tow truck driver that has ever looked at it has commented on how well it was taken care of.  We figured someone would snag it up and fix it.

But then the day after we bought the minivan we got a hail storm.  I got a heads up from Facebook that it was coming our way. So Michael and I scrambled to get the minivan in the garage, but there was no room for the other 2 cars.  The hail was the size of golf balls, and we just watched as it damaged our cars.

It completely shattered the back windshield of the Acura.  And since it was so old, the windshield size was nearly impossible to find.  Then there were dents and dings ALL over it. It ended up totaling the car.  Which was a blessing in disguise.  We didn't have to mess with selling it.

The Santa Fe has a crack in the windshield and it has some dings too.  It has just the basic insurance on it, so we will have to live with the dents.  But it's paid off, so that works for us for now.

Then like 3 days later we got more hail!  But I couldn't put the mini van in the garage, because the windowless Acura was in there until insurance could come.  So I ran out in the downpour and threw a quilt over the minivan.  Desperate times call for desperate measures! :)

We are loving those sliding doors!  And it will be great for any road trips we take.  Now if we can just keep the hail away.  But this is North Texas.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

3 Things

It's been a while since I did a "3 Things" post.  I figured since I was behind on blogging that this would be a good way to catch people up.  Honestly, our life is pretty routine, but I suppose there may be a few things I haven't shared.


1. A few months ago Michael started volunteering on our church's Tech Arts team.  Which means he helps with the lights, cameras, slideshows, etc.  You know--all of the technical stuff that is right up his alley! :)

2. Moms do a pretty good job of having play dates and Mom's Night Out (at least in my circles), but it's harder for guys to connect.  Some of the guys in our life group needed a little extra support in the parenting and marriage department... so Michael started organizing Guys Night Out for them.  It's a little harder to organize, because guys are a little less intentional than woman, but they have been trying to get together once a month.  It's good for all of them.  Even if the planning gets complicated. :)

3. He also found a local gaming store that has free events for people to come and play games together.  He hasn't gone on a regular basis, but it's nice to have that option.  They play games that he enjoys and it is a way to meet new people with like interests.


1. MOPS has come to an end.  I had my ups and downs when it came to being on the steering team, but I LOVED my table.  We actually all went out together last week, even though MOPS ended at the beginning of May.  We planned a night out for every month of summer.  We all get along so well, and I've even made on of my new best friends from this group. (Hi Heather! :)

I'm not going to be in MOPS next year.  I could move to Moms Next, which is for moms with school age kids, because you can bring homeschoolers.  But I really just want/need a year off.

2. Work. Well, work is work.  I got moved from the service desk to hardlines.  It actually has been good for me, but the circumstances behind it were an injustice and that burns me up more than anything.  It is a lot less stressful.  My new position is more physically demanding, but way less emotional and mental.  Plus, in unrelated news, my boss got moved to a different store (another injustice--catching a theme?).  Thankfully they have still worked with me and my hours and I still have a lot of people in management who love me.  So for now I'm sticking around.  But it was rough for a bit.

3. One thing that is helping me cope (ha!) is that we are planning a SECRET (as in my kids don't know, so don't tell them!) trip to Disney World in November.  Back in January Michael said that we needed to make it happen this year.  This will likely be the last year where Olivia thinks that the princesses are actually the real princesses.  So my new hobby is planning this trip. I have read, listened to podcasts, researched, reached out to the free Disney planners... I have lists upon lists.  The planning is so fun for me, so that's what I'm doing in my "free" time.


1. This almost 6 year old is having a big month.  Not only did we just go on her highly anticipated trip to the water park, but she also lost her first tooth!  We didn't even know it was loose.  She put something in her mouth, felt like her tooth was loose, wiggled it with her tongue, and it just popped out!

The tooth fairy visited and left her a note, a small toy, a glittered $5 bill, some glittery coins, and some jewels.  She was thrilled!

2. She also got her very own library card.  She saw a cartoon and read a book about a character getting her own library card.  I told her when she could read the books that she wanted to check out, that she could get her own card.  Well, she can definitely read the books, so she got her own card.

3. This Sunday is "Move Up Sunday" at our church.  So she will be leaving the comforts of the 5 year old class and moving to big kids church.  There are first through fifth graders in there, so it is a BIG jump for her.  I'm sure she will love it, but mommy might be a little nervous.  ;)  How did we get here so fast?


I mean... I don't even think I have 3 things for this guy.

1. He likes to decorate himself. And his rug. Blue is his favorite color.  Can you tell?
2. He's not potty trained, because pooping in the potty is not his thing.
3. Pray for me.  And send wine. :)

All the prayers.  All the coffee. Cheesecake accepted for emotional eating. ;)

I will say in his defense, that whenever I have to drop him off anywhere (MOPS, church nursery, Bible study, etc) the teachers ALWAYS says how sweet of a boy he is.  There was even a time at MOPS where I had to be there early to help with something, so a different MOPS mom was watching the group of helper's kids until the regular teachers arrived.  I didn't know this particular mom, but she sought me out later.  She asked me if I was Logan's mom and told me how much she just loved him.  She went on and on about how sweet and cute and kind he was.  I said thank you and said something about how he can be a handful at times.  She said she just didn't believe that, and that she was a fan of his.  So he may be a bit much, but he has fans. :)

Monday, May 29, 2017

That's a Wrap--Homeschooling Year 1

Of course I get asked a lot how our first year of homeschooling went.  And I always say that it went really well!  Honestly, it was pretty easy and uneventful.  But I do know that this will probably be the easiest year we ever have.  So I'm not expecting every year to be such a piece of cake.

It was easy for a couple of different reasons.  First, I have a teaching degree and am use to using teacher manuals, planning, adding and eliminating as needed.  I see in a lot of homeschool groups that those type of things sometimes throw people off at first.  Also, since I did teach for 6 years, I know that some things are just not that serious.  People are always worried that they are not doing enough and want to add 8,000 things to their kids day.  It's not that serious.  It will get learned. It doesn't all have to happen when they are 5.

Of course my student made it pretty easy as well.  She already had a good starting base.  My main goal for this year was to introduce homeschooling to her and to make it fun and enjoyable.  I also wanted her to have a very strong foundation of phonics/reading. Plus, she just loves learning.  She always has.  So it was never a struggle for us. 

The other thing that made it easy was that for the first 2/3 of the year, we did our school time while Logan was napping.  It did make it more difficult after he gave up naps, but we eventually got in a groove with that as well.

We actually doubled up some lessons and worked at a quick speed, and we finished with Kindergarten in March.

We finished around the time everyone was taking spring break.  So we took a spring break, did a few supplemental things for a few weeks, and then just started in with First grade.

 Our curriculum has you make these little badges for each week to reinforce the theme.  You can do this any way you want.  We chose to make this apron with it, which will be a fun keepsake.

We also made the caterpillar across the top of our learning space.

Olivia started the year just being able to sound out (slowly) cvc words--like cat, dog, big.  She ended the year reading beginner chapter books.  She just picked it up really quickly and ran with it.  Since it was fun and interesting for her, she was always tackling harder words and sounding things out and challenging herself.  She also has great comprehension too, which is equally as important.

I also think there were a few things we did that helped her.  First, the curriculum encouraged a book basket.  We got 20 to 30 books on our theme each week.  I read aloud to her a variety of books for about 30 minutes a day.  We also listened to books on CD in the car every chance we got.  So not only was she hearing me, but she was hearing actors and professionals read with their inflections and enthusiasm.  We've read all sorts of classics like The Boxcar Children, Pippi Longstocking, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, The Littles, Runaway Ralph, and so many more.  Some of those were written in the 20's and 30's!  Hearing those stories with such rich vocabulary can only help her reading!

(One of the components of a Charlotte Mason education is to use living books and not to read "twaddle".  We read all types of books, but most that were recommended by our curriculum were also of high quality.)

That's why I went ahead and just started first grade with her.  Because she was so interested in all of the phonics rules that she kept asking why a word was read the way it was.  Our kindergarten curriculum only taught short vowels, so I would just have to explain things to her outside of what the curriculum was teaching.  I figured we might as well just get started instead of taking months off and losing momentum.

She wrote that little Welcome to First Grade sign herself.  We will have an official first day of school in July when I will take official pictures.

She heard me telling my mom that she was interested in other phonics rules like silent e.  She went to the board and drew this and said, "Like this for example". :)

They actually play school quite often.  Logan doesn't know his alphabet yet, but Olivia is trying hard to teach him.  :)

Michael and Olivia even did something for me for Teacher Appreciation Week.  I got something different each day, and Olivia was so excited to give me each thing.  It's always fun to be thought of and appreciated.

Olivia also enjoyed being part of her homeschool art class.  We did that, as well as MOPS every Wednesday, and swimming lessons once a week.  It was good first year for us.

We are going to take June and half of July off, and then get back to it.  I like that I can make my own schedule. Technically we will probably do somewhat of a year round schedule.  It's not quite as set in stone now, because it's just Olivia and we only do a few hours a day.  We can be flexible and still get it all in. But eventually when I have both of them we will have a more set in stone plan.  There are so many different options (like a sabbath schedule, year round, traditional schedule, three weeks then a gap week, etc).  One thing I've already decided is that we will be taking the month of December off.  It's just too busy and stressful.  So by starting in summer, we can take off time later when we need to or want to.

I'll probably write more again when we start up in July.  But that's the recap.  It was good and we are continuing on again next year! We both really enjoyed the curriculum.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Klyde Warren park and the Art Museum

I have been wanting to visit Klyde Warren park for a while now.  So when we were going to have some cooler temps in April, we headed down to check it out.

I brought the kids a lunch, and Michael and I ate from a food truck.  We got to watch people doing all sorts of fun dance moves on a stage while we were eating.  They were doing some break dancing and spinning on their heads, and Logan found it very interesting!

After lunch we walked over to the kids play places.

The park is near downtown and is literally on an overpass.

It had a lot to offer, but it was a little colder than we expected, so we kept moving.
There is water to play in on a warmer day.  They have shelves of books.  There was a cart where you can get board games from.  It's free!  They also have a small putt putt area, croquet, and a dog park.

After we played outside for a while, we took a FREE trolley ride!

It's an old school trolley, and you could turn the seat to face each other.  So at one point we were all riding together.

After that, we headed to the Art Museum.  It's right across the street from the park, and is actually where we ended up parking. It is also FREE to get in.  You have to pay to get into special exhibits, but the free part was more than enough for us.

They have an area near the kids section where you can make art out of random scraps they have lying around.  Then you can put it on a shelf for display, or take it home.

Logan was thrilled to be able to partcipate--and use tape and sciccors. :)

If you've ever read the book Olivia (the pig), then you know she goes to the art museum.  She see's this painting and thinks that anyone can do it.  So she goes home and recreates the painting on her wall.  So when we saw it, our Olivia had to take a picture in front of it! :)

Logan started melting down at that point, so it was time to head home.  He was asleep within minutes of getting in the car.  It was a pretty good Saturday, though.  And relatively free!  We will for sure do it again some time!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Banana Treats

Michael's sister Jenny shares recipes or ideas with me that she thinks the kids will like.  I happened to be off one Friday night, so I made one of those recipes our "family fun night" activity.

I had showed Olivia the video that Aunt Jenny sent, and she was super excited about sprinkles!

The video had 4 options of flavor mix ups, but we just stuck with 2.

The kids chose white chocolate...


And Michael and I chose peanut butter with mini chocolate chips

We had lots of fun.  The only thing was the bananas were a little mushy.  We followed the directions, but maybe we didn't freeze them long enough?  Either way, the kids loved it!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

More Catch Up

The kids got a membership to the Heard Natural Museum for Christmas.  We headed there one Saturday to do some hiking and exploring.  They love it!

Best friends!

More reading!

Doesn't everyone watch TV like that?

He made his own light saber, which he calls a power sword.

Oh, this child.  He challenges me more than any other thing in life.  But he sure is cute.

I just love this.  He pulled up his chair to the library book basket and just sat down and started reading.  Can you tell that we emphasize reading around here? :)

More helping in the kitchen

On April 8, 2006 we went on our first date.  So each year we try to go on a date around then.  This year it happened to actually fall on a Saturday!

I posted this on Facebook... but this is the truth.  If I'm sitting, one or both of them are sitting on me.  Always.  And while sometimes I could just use the space, I know that my time to be hugged/climbed on/snuggled is short in comparison, so I'll take all I can get.

And sometimes... we're just crazy.

We were out running errands one Saturday, so we ended up trying out a new pizza place.

Target was a little decorated for the new Mario game coming out.
Sidenote: Logan calls Mario oreo. :)

When I'm at work, the kids go on adventures with Boppa.

Olivia and Michael were working on something too complicated for Logan, so he and I made cupcakes together instead.

Olivia took it upon herself to try to get Logan to eat his fish.  It was pretty funny.

We met our Ohio friends at a park near their house for some fun.  My kids love sandboxes!  Especially Logan.

I got the day off again for mother's day.  They made me cards, bought me coffee and donuts, and then left for the day to do their own thing.  I ate my breakfast in peace and quiet while watching a new show I recently got into.  Then I got ready and did a little shopping. We met up later for dinner.
The kids had a great time.  They got to go on a walk around a lake, see a movie, swim at the pool, and get fun snacks.