The Mommy

The Mommy

about us...

I'm The Mommy, a SAHM to Maggie & Ellie. I'm married to Big Daddy, an engineer, grad student and our hard-working provider.
I blog instead of scrapbooking in hopes of preserving a part of our life for the future.
We enjoy beach trips, going to Church and spending time together...all as a family...because that's what we are.

our VP miracle, Maggie

our VP miracle, Maggie
loves homeschooling, sign language, Jesus, reading, church, writing songs and dancing

our sweet Ellie

our sweet Ellie
loves her sister, going to church and the library, singing, babies, chocolate and being naked

Monday, July 1, 2013

Needless to say...

Needless to say, I do not blog and a regular basis anymore.  There is no real reason other than the fact that it doesn't seem as important as it once did.  I still want and need to document the daily in and outs of our lives, but it is so much more important have a little bit of quiet time and to be more present in everything that is going on.

Homeschooling is still going well, but it takes up a few hours of hands on time each day and I still do some sort of planning nearly everyday-even if it's nothing more than scanning Pinterest for new ideas or reading through a curriculum catalog.

This blog was once a scrapbook of sorts for our family and I would never want Maggie and Ellie to think that Mommy dropped the ball when they were the ages of 7 and 4.  Mommy is just busy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Disney World Again

We had another great trip to Disney World!  Maggie and Ellie have grown so much since our last visit 19 months ago.

We decided to leave around 2am with hopes that the girls might sleep for the first half of the ride.  No such luck!  Both girls were awake a lot, but they entertained themselves and each other with the toys that I had packed, a big bag full of library books and a Nancy Drew book for Maggie.

Our first stop was in Georgia for breakfast and then we made it all the way to Florida and the welcome center.  The sun was SO bright and it was already pretty hot.

We drove south a little more and found out that there was a long delay up ahead due to an accident.  We were scheduled to arrive to our hotel extra early anyway, so we decided to take a scenic detour.  We found ourselves in St. Augustine and we all want to go back for an extended visit!  The kids were able to get up close a light house for the first time.

After lots of discussion, we made the decision to stay at the same Disney hotel again.  Our last trip was so much fun, and so busy, but our hotel and the giant characters made things extra special when we were having downtime.  We arrived on Sunday afternoon and checked out on Friday morning.  We had four fun, full and busy days in the parks.  We decided to spend three days in Magic Kingdom (because it IS magical) and to visit Epcot (during the International Flower and Garden Festival) for one day.  As a family we agreed that we didn't need to go back to Animal Kingdom ever at all  for a very long time.

Ellie spent her time asking to be carried (Magic Kingdom and the stroller parking lots did not take up any of my time this trip.), running from the camera, or trying to pose exactly like her big sister. Maggie was eager to pose in front of anything that I asked her to and didn't complain about being tired at all.    Here are a few pictures from our vacation!

We made our own autograph books at home and opted NOT to spend $12.99 each to buy them at Disney World.  The girls were able to meet Mulan, Aurora/Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Pluto, Mickey Mouse, Daisy Duck, Minnie Mouse, Tiana, Mary Poppins and Jessie.  There were a few other characters that had long lines and we always let Maggie decide if having their autographs and meeting them was worth the wait.  Maggie likes to make the most of her time, so we didn't meet Aladdin and Jasmine, Merida or Snow White. We accidentally had an optimal view of one of the afternoon parades and were able to see ALL of the characters as they rode by on their floats.

I will try to post a few helpful hints and details about our trip later this week.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Busy, Busy!

I cannot believe it has been so long since I have written anything!  We have been busy and it's seems that there has been very little free time lately.

Homeschooling takes a chunk of time every day and of course, keeping the house running smoothly too.  Sometimes I fantisize about sending the kids to school just so that I can have FREE days.  It is NOT going to happen though.

Maggie is about to finish up this school year's semester of homeschool elective classes- sign language and American History.  She has an end of the year performance for sign language this week.  Next week she will turn seven, which i can hardly believe!  We also have our homeschool Field Day that week.  The day after that we will be leaving for...Disney World!

We hadn't planned to go to Disney World again only 18 months after our first family trip there.  We had SO much fun before and Big Daddy is going to have a busy travel schedule for most of the summer.  A week at Disney World may be our only family trip for the summer.

We are looking forward to a slower pace as we finish our homeschool electives.  AWANA will break at the end of May and we will have even more free time.  Our only planned activities for the summer are Tumbling for Maggie and Ellie will be going to a special Storytime at the library for preschoolers.

I have a few things that I want to do around the house this summer and we hope to have lots of play dates with some of our homeschool friends.  I really feel like we need some down time and more time to do unplanned fun things together.  Of course, riding bikes and playing outside will be on our schedule every single day.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Is it March already?

As always, I am amazed at how quickly time passes between blog posts. I cannot believe that it is March!

We have a busy schedule this Spring with some extra activities and big Daddy will be traveling quite a bit. We have birthdays, field trips and Easter celebrations to attend.  We now have two "free" days each week!  Maggie's Tumbling class has been moved to Thursday, so our Monday schedule is completely clear.  I may actually have time to homeschool and go to the grocery store on Monday.  I have been trying to do my shopping on Saturdays so that I can go alone.  It makes it easier to go to multiple stores, get everything on my meal planning list and spend an hour or so alone-all in one shot!

Maggie will be turning seven in April and Ellie will be four in June.  Both girls are happy and content to have small parties at home with just family attending, but I think next year may be the year for Maggie to have a friend party.  To make things a little easier on me, I asked the girls if they could have a party to celebrate both of their birthdays in mid-May.  After assuring Maggie that they could each pick their own theme and decorations, she agreed.  We have a BIG surprise that we will be sharing with them soon and that will be a part of their birthday celebrations.  Of course, on their actual birthday there will be some kind of celebration, just the four of us.  I want to start the tradition of letting them pick a favorite meal or restaurant as a way for us to have a celebration on their actual birthday and with just our little family.

In spite of being under the weather, Maggie started her new school year this past Monday.  She had a fever, sore throat and cough starting on the Thursday. Even though she wasn't back to normal, she was eager to see what my plans were for the new season. So far, she loves it, but we have only had two days if work!  She was a little stressed out over a writing assignment yesterday because she was worried that she would "get it wrong".  She loves to be right and to please, so having a real assignment that asks her to narrate a story, inspired by a classic painting stressed her out a bit.  She is very creative and sites and tells imaginative stories all the time, but the thought of doing this as a part of her school work upset her. She likes for things to be black or white, right or wrong.  We are doing several things this year to help her to tap into her creativity and be able to put some of it down on paper.  We will be doing journal entries, book reports and reading high quality books to assist her with her writing skills.

As always, I continue to struggle with "doing it all" and wonder how in the world some women are able to do so much.  I like to think I do a little less that those women, but I do it all better!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Learning Space

So...I am finally sharing the room where we do most of our school work.  We learn everywhere, though. I promise.  One of the things that I have learned from hanging out with homeschooling families is that we often over-explain things in an effort to teach our children something.

This is the view when you get to the top of the stairs.  We moved the most comfortable piece of furniture we own love seat up here, shortly after we moved in and bought new living room furniture.  To the left is our desk and to the right is our "preschool center".   Big Daddy's desk is behind the love seat and holds his laptop, any project that he is working on and our printer.  He has the option to work from home at times, so he needs to have a space to keep work stuff that is NOT close to our things.  The bookshelf to the right of the window was my grandmother's.  It is FULL of Big Daddy's books.  My little desk area is on the other side of the easel.
 I had picked out a super economical desk option and then we got to IKEA and Big Daddy decided that this would be better.  This was on my original idea board, but I nixed it in favor of something cheaper.  I like that there is a big work surface with two separate seating areas.  It's actually from the dining collection, is real wood and could be painted in the future.  We picked out the red folding chairs, so that we could easily store them or carry them downstairs for extra seating.  I need one more for my desk and maybe another just because.  Right now, I move Ellie's chair across from Maggie or Maggie's chair beside of Ellie when we are working.  The child that is NOT doing school work can play, read or draw in another area.  We have our calendar board and some magnetic boards that we can display current art on.  The bookshelf holds some of our curriculum and manipulatives are stored in the wooden crate on the floor.

 This is our "preschool center".  We have a kitchen, doll house, bench with books and pillows to create a comfy reading spot.  This area is out of view from Maggie's seat.  Ellie can play quietly and it doesn't distract our learning.  The giant easel to the left, was a Christmas gift from 2011.  It was in the living room for nearly a year because it is much bigger than it was in the store! :) The toys that we moved upstairs are a little more special, since they are sort of out of the way.  Going upstairs just to play is such a reward.

My "desk" is a kidney-shaped vanity table that I bought at my aunt's yard sale at least 15 years ago.  I used it as my nightstand and it has been used as a sofa table upstairs.  It's perfect for using my iPad/laptop, writing out my lesson plans or keeping a few papers that I need to file away or any of our school paperwork that needs to be sent in. I have around 15 binders of different colors and sizes that are used for organizing supplies.  After two weeks, I am still putting things in their place.

I can only imagine how we may change this room as time passes.  Right now, it is a fun place to learn, play and create and we are finding that it serves our homeschool well!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ikea and Pinterest Love

I feel like Pinterest is such a blessing to our homeschool.  It is so nice to be able to find people to "follow" that you have things in common with.  Even though I need to (and I am working on) organizing my Pinterest boards so that I know where things are a little better. Of course, it's not just helpful for our homeschool!  We have lots of things around the house that were inspired by Pinterest or that I found out about because of Pinterest.  We also have lots of little Ikea things around!  We have been to Ikea three times and have purchased things two times.  We haven't been disappointed and love the price and quality of all of our purchases.

IKEA-We recently bought this step stool.  We haven't painted it yet, but Ellie uses it when helping me in the kitchen and Rainbow likes to use it to see outside.

IKEA-The lantern on the left was purchased on our most recent trip. I have an obsession with lanterns. (You will see!)
Pinterest-The window above the table was in the house that my dad was raised in.  I have had it hanging somewhere for the past 10 or so years.  I saw Looking Glass spray paint on Pinterest and decided to try it out.  It turns glass into a mirrored surface or you can spray it with water/water and vinegar for an antique or mercury glass look.  (The hymn page wreath was made by my aunt and she probably got the idea from Pinterest.)  The "frames" on the table are cheap wooden plaques from Hob Lob and I painted them and then used Modge Podge to affix and seal the pictures on them.
 Pinterest- I got the idea to make silhouettes from Pinterest.  It started out with the Maggie & Ellie (at 9 months old) and I added the one of Big Daddy holding each of their hands from a photo I had taken on one of our beach trips.  Just last week, I added a silhouette of Rainbow!
IKEA- The lantern on the left is from Ikea, but I painted it on the outside and used Looking Glass spray paint to create a mercury glass look.  I have had this one for about a year.

Pinterest- I saw this idea on Pinterest, but changed it up a bit.  Of course, I used Maggie and Ellie's hand and footprints for this.

Pinterest- I started wanting a kitchen island because of Pinterest.  We have plenty of cabinets and plenty of counter space.  We have a small section of cabinet on each side of the stove and sometimes I have helpers or need a little extra room without going across to the longer section of counter.  We looked at lots of options and Big Daddy decided that we needed it to be somewhat portable.  Most of the things that I wanted in an island were not going to work for our space, so I have filed them away in case we design a house someday.
IKEA- I saw some cute island/cart option on Ikea's sight.  Big Daddy couldn't get on board with my idea until I saw the cart that I had picked out painted a very similar color to what our kitchen table already is.  So...I showed Big Daddy the picture and he finally understood what I had in mind. I stained the top and drawers and painted the rest with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (Duck Egg, dark wax) to match our table and chairs in the breakfast area.  We can also roll this into the dining room if we are having a party to put food or drinks on.

I am also using Pinterest  to help with picking out paint colors, as well.  We have lived here 3.5 years and our walls have taken a beating...thanks to two sweet kids!  We chose a light neutral for the common areas of the house.  It matched one of the rooms in our old house and was a safe option since I picked out paint colors 48 hours after giving birth and while still in the hospital.  We chose Sherwin Williams Stucco.  We like it, but I want something...with a little more pigment. (Suggestions appreciated!!)

Next up, a quick tour of the homeschool room!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Long time, no blog

I feel like it has been forever since I have posted anything and then I realize it has been nearly a month!  As much as I want this to be our virtual scrapbook, I feel like it is hard to keep up.

As soon as Christmas was over, I started planning for our next school year.  Since we choose to school year round and take days off as we need them, our curriculum is running out. Maggie would be in first grade (based oher age) if she were in traditional school.  We are currently finishing up first grade math, but everything else is second grade.  So...most of what we will be doing when we finish our current work will be third grade. It has never been our intention to be ahead.  We are much more interested in following her lead and doing what we need to do.  Which explains why we/I decided that doing another year of first grade math would be best.  Maggie was getting so frustrated with math, so I went with my gut and decided to try another curriculum.  She still gets frustrated, but the different curriculum is a much better fit for us.  I ordered ALL of our curriculum last night, so I feel like I get a little vacation from planning.  Once all of it arrives I have to decide how many days a week we will have each subject, with the core subjects being daily.  I also have a list of different things that I want to implement from journals and book reports, to art studies and manners lessons.

Once we made the decision to be a homeschooling family, we knew that our upstairs bonus room would be our future classroom.  I had thought we would wait a couple of years, but we found that we were outgrowing our kitchen table.  Our kitchen table has an unfinished wooden top (due to the fact that i stripped the finish off) and we feel completely comfortable with getting markers, glue or paint on it.  I thought about moving us into the dining room, but I try to keep that table looking nice.  Big Daddy always tells me that we will do what I need to make things better.  I shopped around online and picked out several different desk options, created a secret board on Pinterest with everything that I wanted, made a ton of lists and then we set off for Ikea.  We LOVE that place!  It's about an hour and a half away and the weather was not in our favor, but we made it there in back in snow and freezing rain and my sweet husband bought everything on my list.  We are extremely happy with our purchases!

I will share pictures of our classroom tomorrow!  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bringing An Outdoor Cat Inside

 I have been doing lots of  internet searches  research on bringing an outdoor cat inside, what cats do at night and lots of other cat related things.  Big Daddy and I both grew up with outside cats that were strays that had wondered up and stayed around because they were fed and given attention to.  Once we realized that Rainbow was getting injured in fights, we wanted to keep him safe.  Research states that having a male cat neutered should reduce fighting and wandering by about 90%.  Of course, it also helps control the pet population and it breaks my heart to see stray animals.  The best way to protect them from predators, is by having them inside.  Since I saw a fairly large coyote right across the street from our house last Friday, Big Daddy and I decided that we HAD to keep him inside at night.

When we took Rainbow to the vet for his shots, we scheduled the appointment to have him neutered.  He would have to be at the office around 7am and would need to be inside ALL the time for a minimum of 48 hours.  We gave him the litter box a week before surgery and hoped that he would sleep well in the house on the night before surgery.  We wanted to make sure that Rainbow didn't have anything to eat after midnight and decided that bringing him in for the night would be the easiest way.  He went to sleep well and then was up meowing at all of the bedroom doors around 4am.  I sat up with him and he was happy just having one of his people around!  Big Daddy left for work around 7am and took Rainbow by the vet on his way.  The doctor called around 12:00 to let me know that he tolerated the procedure well, but had an upset tummy.  I went to pick him up around 4:00 and he seemed excited to see his family.  The tech warned me that he had been a little aggressive and even growling at them.

I decided to have Maggie and Ellie play in their rooms while I took Rainbow, still in his crate, into the laundry room.  When I opened the door he went straight to the litter box.  After that, he prowled around the house like a tiger looking for a person to eat.  He jumped on everything!  The kitchen table, the dining room table, all of the beds and the couch.  After a couple of hours, he crashed!  Sweet boy went to sleep and woke up around 4am.  He was once again, meowing at the bedroom doors.  Big Daddy and I decided that we would try to leave our bedroom door opened the next night.  He seems to enjoy just being in the room with us, even if we're asleep.

And things have been great ever since!

Rainbow sleeps most of the night.  We do not hear him meow, but can sometimes hear the kuh-thump of him chasing his toys in the living room on the hardwood floors.  I have gotten up during the night to use the bathroom and he will be asleep in our bedroom floor.  We are super- thrilled with how well things have been going.  On Monday, we decided to let him out in the morning and he has been staying out for a few hours before coming nap.  He loves looking outside during the day and has several perches that we have given him so that he can enjoy the views.

Much to my surprise, I have done surprisingly well with both the cleanliness issues and my asthma and allergies.  I have found more of my hair (and our new American Girl, Caroline) on the floors than  I have cat hairs.  I dust mop daily (except for Sunday) and generally keep the house quite clean.  From what I've read this is probably why my allergy to cats seems to be under control.  If I carry him or rub my eyes before I have washed my hands, I will get itchy and watery eyes and a little sniffle.  I comb Rainbow (which he loves) daily, but that doesn't seem to pull off a lot of hair.  I guess we'll see how much he sheds when warm weather comes!  I clean out the litter box daily and we haven't had any odor issues except for right after he potties.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012- The Year I Became A Crazy Cat Lady

I couldn't think of a better title for this post!  Of all the things that happened in 2012, one of the most unexpected (and happiest) things was that we became cat "owners".

When our hamster Olivia died (somewhat prematurely) I never planned on getting a cat or dog.  We had thought about it, but didn't want an indoor pet because of my asthma, allergies and the fact that I like a clean house and didn't need anyone else to clean up after.  For the past 12 years I have had horrible asthma issues and most pets just didn't seem like a possibility.  I have always thought indoor pets were fine for other people, but that it wouldn't happen for us.

And then Rainbow happened.

I need a shirt that says "Let me tell you about my cat".  I LOVE this boy.  I say at least three times a day, "You really are an exceptional cat".  He is well-behaved, loves the girls and just seems so happy here with us.  Of course, he adopted us, so I like to think that he loves the people that he lives with.

The first week of December we started having issues with Rainbow having injuries.  Our boy was getting in fights.  We discussed his place in our family and decided that we would talk about having him "fixed" and we discussed the idea of him living inside.  I admit, I panicked.  I would wake up at night and worry about everything that comes with having an indoor pet and I prayed a lot.

One morning when I went out to feed him, he didn't come.  After a few minutes, I realized he was in his (dog) house and he was hurt.  I saw a few drops of blood and realized that he had a deep gash all the way to the bone in his tail.  It broke my heart.  A couple of days later, he was waiting on me with a bloody ear that had a little rip in it.  Big Daddy and I decided to take him to the vet for his shots and to discuss having him neutered.

So...Rainbow took his shots like a big boy and the vet examined his injuries.  She said that something (another cat or possibly a coyote) had grabbed his tail and that it had been ripped while he was running away.  The doctor cleaned his injured ear and gave him a shot of antibiotics.  She also examined his crooked smile and said that earlier in his life...his jaw had been broken.  I think Big Daddy and I both gasped when she said that he had most likely been hit by a car.  I had thought hoped that his tooth was just one of those sweet things that made him special.  The doctor estimated his age at much older than we had expected.  she said that he was probably so small and had grown so much in the past three months because he was suffering from being malnourished when he came to our house.

Anyway...Rainbow will go to the doctor tomorrow to be neutered.  He has been spending LOTS of time in the house in preparation for his recovery period.  He stays in all day and goes to the door when he wants out to potty or prowl.  He has also used the litter box that I placed in the laundry room.  (HUGE step for me!)  We are planning to let him be an indoor/outdoor cat.  We only let him stay in the house when we are home and we do not let him get on any of the furniture.  He will be sleeping inside at night while he recovers from his surgery and we'll see what  he wants to do we decide after that.

My heart has changed and I do not want to imagine our house without Rainbow around.  He is a nice addition to our family.
I pet him and wash my hands immediately and haven't had anything more than watery eyes for a few minutes- even after holding him on the way to and from the vet.  Several of my friends have told me that he probably won't bother my allergies since I keep the house so clean. We'll see,

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This Christmas

I feel like things have been so busy since Thanksgiving!

We put our tree up on Thanksgiving evening.  Maggie and Ellie helped decorate it and went to bed a little late.  I stayed up until 2am getting everything decorated and all of the glitter and tree needles cleaned up.

 Mantle (Ellie wanted "rainbow" lights somewhere, so we opted for the mantle)
 Living Room Tree
 Our Jesse Tree in the kitchen
 Rainbow comes in a couple of times a day and likes to sneak under the tree because the girls can't bother him there!
 Maggie's Tree
Ellie's Tree

The tree in the kitchen was my favorite!  My mom had an extra tree and I decided it would be nice in our kitchen.  I put brown balls, brown glittery snowflakes and chartreuse balls on it.  Then...I decided that we should do a Jesse Tree.  I went shopping for a little tree to use and couldn't find anything I liked, so the kitchen tree is now our Jesse Tree.  We really love it and it's fun to see the kids get excited over eating that little piece of chocolate from their Adven calendars while finding out what the Bible verse for that day is.  They color the symbol on their ornament and we discuss the story and how it leads up to the birth of Christ.   Maggie knows most of the stories so well because of our great love for The Jesus Storybook Bible.

We also decorated gingerbread houses this year.  Big Daddy and I each bought one on the same day, so we had an extra.  My mom, sister and Cousin Callie came over we listened to Christmas music, had coffee and decorated.

  We have had lots of holiday parties that we have skipped, just because I do not want to feel any busier than I have to be.  We did enjoy a fun party with our homeschool group and we have some special services that we will be attending at church.  The parties that we didn't/aren't attending- Preschool Birthday Party for Jesus at a children's museum, K-5 Birthday Party for Jesus at BounceU, a Homeschool Baby Shower for Jesus at a skating rink with all gifts going to a local pregnancy crisis center and the children's Christmas play at church.  We will be going to the choir and drama team's concert on Sunday and next Sunday we will have a candle light Lord's Supper.

I was able to go to Sanford to meet my best friends for a Christmas/birthday dinner celebration.  We went to an "adult" restaurant!  It was a little too quiet for us, so we may have to go to a different place for our next night out.  The food, service and fellowship was wonderful!  We had one of those waiters that just knew exactly what to do...and he was nice enough to take a picture of us (he warned us that the lighting would ve awful) with three different devices.  I also did a little shopping with K before our dinner.  I am taking Maggie and Ellie to Sanford next week so that they can see Gammy Gladys, so I'll get to visit A and her kids a little then too.

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