Whatcha Makin’? — Let’s Do A T-Shirt Quilt!

I have to have something to do. A project of some sort. If I don’t have a project to look forward to, I find that I have a lot of trouble focusing on anything else. I find it’s easier to keep the tv off and keep everyone moving if I know I get to do something for myself later. (I doubt this makes any sense, but it seems that’s how I work. lol)

But as of the end of March, all of my stuff has been in boxes. My sewing table has been under boxes. Boxes filled with my paints and brushes, my pencils and pastels and pads, my fabrics and scissors and rulers, my scrapbooks and papers, even all of my notebooks! But I haven’t noticed it too much since I first was busy unpacking the rest of the house. Then I got to work in the yard and busy myself with flowers and growing veggies and herbs.

Now we are in mid-June here in central NC and the heat index for the rest of the week is 100 degrees. Yard work? With Code Orange air quality warnings? Nah, I’m good thanks. The boxes left in the basement? I can’t do anything with those until I get more shelving (because it’s mostly books left….Hubby and I are major book lovers). The boxes left in the spare basement room? Those are all of my boxes. Which I can’t unpack until I get more shelving for that too. So I’m at a standstill with just about everything. I even have plenty of freezer meal recipes on hand to stock my freezer up with after I go grocery shopping.

So what’s a girl to do? I know. How about we cut up shirts? Nothing crazy, it’ll be for a quilt. ๐Ÿ™‚ Want to join me? We’ll make it a weekly thing! This week we’ll get started and next week, we’ll move on to the next step, and so on. Let’s do this!DSC08340

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Homeschool — To Do It or Not To Do It…That is the question

Well last week I kept Ladybug company on the couch. This Monday morning brought a little fever. But this time it’s Freckles who is down for the count. Not sure what is going on yet, so far it seems like just a cold: sniffly nose, sore throat, sneezing, fever and occasional cough. Hopefully she’ll be better to go to school tomorrow, with the school year winding down I hate for her to be out sick.ย 

But this gives me a chance to talk about something I’ve had on my mind off and on over the last year. Homeschool. To do it? Or not to do it?ย 

I’ve gone back and forth so many times I’ve lost count. What if I pull my kids out of public school and I fail them and they fall behind and can’t get into college? Which curriculum and books do we use? There is an overwhelming amount of tools and resources. How do we afford it? Can we afford it?

Then I reflect on Freckles’ third year at school. I have concerns that she may fall behind later because this year was a little shaky in the math area. By the end of 2nd grade they are supposed to begin learning multiplication tables. But they have spent the entire year learning 10 different ways to add and subtract. And now my child struggles with simple addition. She had everything down fine before the start of the year, but after they learn one method, they are forced to re-learn addition using a different method, whether or not it makes sense to them. It’s no wonder she’s gotten confused. Adding is as simple as first add the ones column, then the tens. Now you have to break it down, re-group it, add the different parts together, then add it all back together.ย 

Anyway, I also think about how much better Freckles could understand things if she went out and saw and touched- which is an opportunity homeschooling offers. And I would be able to slow down in areas Freckles needed it, and move aheadย in other areas where she excels. And one of my favorite things about homeschooling is that I could spend more time with my kids.ย 

Then I wonder, am I even qualified to do this? But as their mom, I teach them how to walk, to eat, to talk, and give them the basis for learning when they get to school. Why is when they turn 5 I’m no longer qualified to teach them? I have their best interests at heart and would stop at nothing to help them excel.ย 

Ladybug is not yet 5, but she’s been writing for at least a year now…maybe a year and a half…I’m really not sure. She started with learning her letters, followed by learning to spell and write her name. Now she writes ‘I love you Mommy’ and ‘[Ladybug] loves Mommy’ and so many other words. And she is learning to spell new words everyday. (One day when I picked Ladybug up from preschool, they had artwork hanging in the hall. Ladybug had written ‘[Ladybug] Frozen’ on her paper. ๐Ÿ™‚ And after that, her favorite thing to write on her papers was ‘From [Ladybug] To Alex’, her uncle.) Ladybug has even begun solving simple addition problems while we are in the car. So if, before the age of 5, I’m able to help Ladybug learn to spell and begin reading/recognizing words and help her learn simple adding and subtracting, why couldn’t I homeschool my kids?ย 

Then of course, it’s back to: Oh my goodness, can I do this? What if I fail? What if I fail my kids?ย 

Then back to: Well, homeschooled children do better than their public school counterparts. And colleges like those who have been homeschooled because they are more focused and driven.ย 

I’ve also worried about the legal side of things since North Carolina does require testing.ย 

And now that we have more space, it seems a little more feasible.ย 

So for now, Freckles is finishing up 2nd grade, and Ladybug is about to start Kindergarten.

Has anyone else been conflicted like this? What did you do? I’d really love to hear about it!

7 Years Ago…

Talk about a lazy Sunday. Both Freckles and Ladybug slept in until almost 9:30 this morning! The last time Freckles slept in late she was using a paci and still in diapers. (I want to say that was when she was about 18 months old.) Ladybug has only ever slept in until just after 8 o’clock, though 7 am is her usual time. So yes, this was a record-breaking morning. ๐Ÿ™‚

After the last few days we’ve had around here, a day to relaxย is just what we need. My mom was over here Monday and Tuesday to help me plant flowers and clean up my front yard. Ladybug spent the whole day outside with us Monday playing with water in her teacup set. ๐Ÿ™‚ Tuesday she was outside up until about lunchtime, then she went inside to change into her jammies, lay under a blanket on the couch, and watch episodes of Scooby Doo. Wednesday we walked Freckles to school and then I spent the day out in the yard again planting my flowers in the back, as well as the seeds in my little garden. But Ladybug didn’t want to be outside. She laid on the couch, under a blanket, with a pillow, watching episodes of Scooby Doo. Again. Then Thursday came. After bringing Freckles to school, Ladybug asked me to watch Scooby Doo with her on the couch. As we snuggled, Ladybug seemed a touch on the warm side and when lunchtime rolled

sick abbyaround she didn’t. want. to. eat! [See, around here we joke that Ladybug has a hollow leg because she is always eating. So when she isn’t hungry, you know something is up.] Turns out she had a fever. And bumps. Thursday night the fever broke. Friday morning didn’t bring a fever but there were more spots and they were driving my little Bug crazy. So to the doctor we went. He told us she had Hand Foot Mouth disease and she probably got it from the splashground we were at the past weekend. Even though he gave us a stronger-than-Benadryl prescription and told us to use GoldBond to ease the itching in the meantime, she was still in tears. We found that the only thing that worked to ease Ladybug’s extremely itchy toes were cold wet towels and massaging through the towels. Saturday brought more bumps in different places and another trip to see the doctor. [Little Bug has shown to be allergic to some medications, so we needed to be sure this wasn’t another reaction. It wasn’t.] Everything was fine and would start clearing up soon. Then we got home and noticed an industrial staple poking out of one of the van’s tires. So I ran it over to the place I take all of our cars and the hole was repairable. (Yay!) Since Ladybug was feeling better, despite new spots, Hubby’s parents took the girls for a few hours so that Hubby and I could go celebrate our anniversary. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย [Now to the point of this post. ๐Ÿ™‚ ]

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Freckles, 10 months old

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My dad and Freckles, June 8th 2007

This morning of June 8th is vastly different from how my day went 7 years ago. Seven years ago, I was dropping my daughter off with family and then I was off to get a massage and a facial at a local spa. Then it was back to get my little one, hang out with my dad and out-of-town family for a bit. Then we went home to get ready for the wedding rehearsal followed by the rehearsal dinner. Pretty sure that as I got closer to the rehearsal there were butterflies in my stomach.

 

The rehearsal on the 8th went smoothly and we were off to Ragazzi’s for the rehearsal dinner. Hubby (at the time, soon-to-be Hubby) took our little one home and I went with my dad to stay with him and family.

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Family at the rehearsal dinner

The morning of June 9th found my dad’s kitchen full of excited (and probably still sleepy) people and my stomach was finding that the butterflies were also awakening. ๐Ÿ™‚ I took the car and went to pick up my matron-of-honor and bridesmaids so we could go get our nails done. I then got my make-up done. We split up until it was time to head to the church. My sister and I went back to my dad’s to gather up my dress and everything else.

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My dad finishing the cake.

By this time everyone else was busy doing other things to help make this day a wonderful one. Our families were working hard at decorating and setting up the place where we were going to have our reception. (It was beautiful!) ย My dad was putting his finishing touches on the cake. (It was beautiful! He did a wonderful job.)

Back at the church, I was beginning to get ready…with help. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was nervous, but not too nervous in my flip flops. (My grandmother seriously could not believe I was getting married in flip flops. But they weren’t ratty ones or anything. They were very pretty, brand new, white flops with a [fake] diamond flower on the strap. Besides, who sees your feet anyway??)

Then the lady directing everything said it was time. At this point I understood why some women need paper bags. ๐Ÿ™‚ Walking the long hallway to the chapel was…well, it was tough. Thankfully my matron-of-honor walked with me at my agonizingly slow pace. My legs felt like they were made of jelly and I was seriously wondering how on earth they were holding me up, much less how I was able to move at all. And then I reached my dad and had someone to help hold me up. [Have I mentioned how nervous I was?? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ]

I made it to the altar but when it came time to say my vows, they were said through tears. [Let me break here and say all the nervousness was all a good nervousness and the tears were happy tears.] What’s funny about this is that I laughed at the rehearsal when it was suggested I should stuff a tissue or two somewhere in case I needed one on the big day. That wasn’t really ever me. Just in case, on my way out of the room where we had gotten ready, I stuffed in a tissue. Guess I needed it after all. ๐Ÿ™‚

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We did it!

That day 7 years ago, I married my best friend. The man God made just for me, and I for him.

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We’ve been together since I was 19 and we’ve had plenty of ups and plenty of downs to make those ups even more sweet. We’ve celebrated the ups together: Hubby’s sister getting married, friends getting married, having kids, birthdays, holidays, just spending time together. And we’ve pushed through the downs together: losing people we love, tough financial times, not seeing eye-to-eye, losing a baby, just not having things work out like we’d planned. Saying that I love this man more now than I did 9 years ago when he proposed, or even 7 years ago when we said ‘I do’, seems like an understatement. He completes me. As corny as that sounds (I’m pretty sure we are all flashing to ‘Jerry McGuire’ at this moment) it is true; where I fall short, he picks it up and we move on. Where he falls short, I pick it up and we keep on going.

I love hanging out with him because we enjoy a lot of the same things. (We do differ though; where the girls and I like being outside, he is more of an air-conditioner kind of guy.) He is intelligent, hard working, handsome, funny, kind, sweet, a good dad, caring, sexy, and just a really good man. He works incredibly hard to provide for his family and truly cares about what he does and tries to look out for those he works with. And I love that my stomach still does a flip when I hear him walk through the door at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter where we are, when I look at his face and into his eyes, I’m home.

We have grown a lot over the last 7 years and a lot has changed, but one thing remains the same: my husband and I are together and love each other more with each passing day.

3 of us after

June 9, 2007

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Us now (pic taken Dec. 2013)

 

A few more wedding pictures: ย ๐Ÿ™‚

princess kyleighย ย ย kyleigh and tom

nateall 3ย ย ย 
usHere’s to the many, many, many MANY years to come with my better half!

 

A Place to Call Home (DIY Birdbaths too!)

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Today is only the fourth of June, but the heat of today lets us here in central NC know that summer is on its way. And it’s going to be brutal. ย Luckily though, when the serious heat of the day hit, I was working in my backyard. And my backyard is completely shaded. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I’m a little ahead of myself.

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Present-day backyard

In April, Hubby and
I moved our family from apartment living to living in a house. Since we both moved out of our parents’ houses, we’ve only ever lived in apartments. And then when Hubby and I moved in together, we have also only ever lived in apartments. So this move was pretty big for us. [Side note: I have a whole list of things that I have learned since moving from an apartment that I plan on sharing.]

One of the things I most looked forward to, was having a yard for my kids to run around and play in and having the space to have a garden. That was one of my criteria for whichever house we chose. Another criteria should have been no pet stains/smells left in the carpets, but that comedy will have to wait. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Life as a mom — This is hard!

Something has to end so that something new can begin. But does it always have to come to an end so fast?

Today was my baby’s last day of preschool. Two years of preschool come to an end. The new beginning I mentioned is Kindergarten. In July. How is it possible that my baby is about to be 5 and off to elementary school? It really seems like last week she needed to be held in order to sleep. You probably think I’m exaggerating. But no. I promise you I’m not. For Ladybug’s entire first year, she would not sleep unless she was held. It was a sleepy year for Daddy and Mommy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ladybug is such a silly, fun and smart little bug. I really and truly enjoy hanging out with her. She keeps me laughing and I get plenty of snuggles and kisses. It is simply the best.

Have you ever had someone stop you in the store and tell you something nice about your child (or children)? That compliment is usually followed up with “enjoy it, it goes by fast” or something similar. Okay, okay. I admit it. I’ve said it once or twice to a mom of a tiny one. (Seriously though. In the midst of feeling like you will never be clean and well-rested EVER again, it’s done. And you do shower every day again. And you do get full nights of sleep again. But when you poke your head in your little one’s room, they aren’t so little all of a sudden. And you wonder “what just happened??”.)

But I’m getting carried away. So I’ve been reading this book my mother (in-law) gave me. It’s called Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. [Side note: I’m enjoying the book so far. ๐Ÿ™‚ ] One of the stories Glennon tells is about how she was shopping with her two small children. In the checkout line, well, the kids weren’t really being angelic. Some older lady, just being nice, told her how much she enjoyed those years and how quickly those years pass. The lady then told Glennon to enjoy absolutely every moment. All the while, Glennon’s kids are a touch out of control and she’s thinking to herself “really?!? you want me to enjoy this very moment??”. So because life is not always enjoyable (c’mon, do you really enjoy the tantrums?), Glennon decided to find a few moments each day to cherish and call it a success.

After reading her story and seeing my baby end her preschool years, it hit me. While I make a conscious effort to not take this time for granted, I kind of have a different reaction. Well to be honest, I kind of take Glennon’s idea and run as fast as I can in the other direction. I tend to worry that I’m not enjoying this time enough:

Am I going to remember the way this sweet face looks when she first wakes up?

Am I going to remember the little dimple that appears when she smiles her impish smile?

Am I going to remember her sweet and unique Ladybug smell?

And what about her laugh? Am I going to be able to remember her contagious giggle? The one that can crack my I-mean-business face?

Am I going to be able to remember the way those little freckles under her eyes make her face more angelic?

Am I going to be able to remember how warm and soft and cuddly she is?

Will I be able to remember the way, when she is sitting on my lap, she reaches her arm up behind her and wraps it around my neck?

Obviously I could go on, but I think you’re getting the idea. I capture every moment I can with the camera for both of my girls. But there are things that can’t be preserved with a snapshot. They are the moments captured in the heart. I suppose though we may not always be able to readily recall all of the things we would like, they are still there. Locked away in our hearts helping to continually shape us.

But I want to be able to remember all of these things. I don’t want to forget or have it locked in my heart, though I’m sure glad it’s there because it means that it happened. And a selfish part of me doesn’t want my baby to say goodbye to her preschool self. [Man, I’m tearing up as I type this. Hubby is going to wonder what on earth I’m writing about to make myself cry. :,) ] I’m not ready to say goodbye to days spent in the yard with Ladybug as she squeals in delight at finding worms and putting them in a bowl with water. Or to the afternoons in our front yard watching her find and catch roly polys, put them in the compartment on the back of her tricycle and pedal around the driveway. Or to the lazy mornings spent snuggling on the couch watching her favorite movie and kissing those soft, squishy cheeks and getting kisses back. I don’t want to say goodbye to picking my Ladybug up from preschool and watching her run down the hall carrying her tote bag to say ‘goodbye’ to her music teacher, which she did every single day this year.

I want to be able to freeze-frame my baby as she is right now. I want her to go on and become who the good Lord made her to be, but I want something to be able to look back on and be able to remember everything and smell that unique scent of my Ladybug.

Ah, to be a mom. This life has its ups and downs and of course it’s all worth it and I am truly grateful for every moment (even the unpleasant moments, like tantrums, because it means I have children and I am a mom, ya know?). But it’s also hard. It’s hard to let go of the babies as they grow out of one part of their lives and are ready to begin the next chapter. It’s hard to let go a little more. When our children begin to walk, we have to let go a little bit. When our children enter preschool, or daycare, we have to let go a little more. When our children enter elementary school, our grip has loosen even more and they are gone for a large part of the day. I imagine that when our children enter high school, we have all but let go. Then college. And then they begin creating a life and identity outside of the home we built for them and with them and around them. It’s hard. But so worth it. And I’m sure that, if I asked, is what my mom would tell me, her oldest with a family of my own.

So today, I swallow the gianormous lump in my throat as I pick my baby up from preschool for the last time. I put my sunglasses on, even though I’m standing in the shade, to hide the tears forming in my eyes. I know that if I open my mouth to speak I’m going to crack. So I smile the best smile I’ve got, nod a lot, and give plenty of hugs to Ladybug’s wonderful teachers; one of whom taught Freckles in her second year of preschool. I smile down at my little girl in her hearts swimsuit with her Dora towel wrapped around her and her sandy brown hair in braided pigtails and take her soft, cool little hand in mine. We’ve said our goodbyes, and the time has come. She is ready to go, and I want to hang back. Just for another minute. But with wet eyes behind my trusty sunglasses, my little girl and I head to the car to begin the next chapter.

Let’s Get Out! — 14 Super Fun Camp Activities

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My craft box for the trip.

Hi Everyone! I had started to write a post in my little notebook on Tuesday while in the carpool line and then kept going while I was making pancakes. I had every intention of writing up a post on the computer after the kiddos went to bed. But what started out with me trying to make a point about one thing turned into me talking about something else all together. Then it hit me that I have a camping trip coming up and I am totally not ready! So then I had the brilliant idea of writing about what I plan on getting together for camping! Now I have everything written down in one place while getting stuff together for pictures! Genius! haha (I really do talk to myself like this. And my kids think I’m totally nuts. They really can only blame themselves on that one though. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

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My dad has started taking the girls and I camping with him in the last couple years. Growing up, I never went camping. My dad would talk about how he had gone as a kid and how awesome it was, but we never could quite swing a trip into the great outdoors. Fast forward a few years and my dad has remarried and has started camping with his new wife and her kids; I think my sister made a trip or two with them also. Let’s fast forward up to 2012 on Memorial Day weekend. Pops (that’s what I call my dad in my head, out loud it’s always Daddy) is back to bachelorhood and my sister is roughing it in college. This season is it. It happened! It’s been decided that it’s high time for me to go camping! Never having been, I was a little nervous about camping with two little kids, but Freckles (who was working on the home stretch of Kindergarten) and Ladybug (who was about to turn the big 0-3 at the end of June) were pretty excited. The weekend went well, despite waking up in pee one morning (it happened that we were right smack dab in the middle of potty training that weekend, how ’bout that?), and we’ve since been making a couple trips every season. Sometimes Hubby comes along, but most of the time not…the great outdoors isn’t all that great to him. ๐Ÿ™‚ And sometimes my Sister comes along, but sometimes not being that she is a super busy college kid and works with high school kids a lot.

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First Post — Freezer Meals!

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For my first post here, I thought I would start big. And by big, I mean this may be kind of long but totally worth the read! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been reading about ‘freezer cooking’ and ‘freezer crock pot meals’ for long enough that now I am ready to do it myself. See, we just had to take our van in to get our AC fixed. (With summer coming up here in NC, you really can’t be without the air in the car.) And the repairs weren’t cheap so I knew we needed to buckle down and pinch some pennies to get through the next couple of months.

Enter freezer cooking.

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