Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas!

So our big plan was to take a really nice family picture to send everyone for Christmas this year. That didn't exactly happen. Between the wacky Virginia weather this winter, 2 boys that would rather do anything else other than sit facing the camera and smile, and other trips and errands to be made, this is the absolute best we could get. We went through a lot of pictures to get these few.
Even though it's several days past Christmas, here is our Merry Christmas to you and Happy New Year to boot!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I should be: making a delicious and nutritious dinner.
I am: reading blogs about food and homeschooling... and whatever else looks interesting, really.
My kids are: ruining their minds with video games.
My husband is: at Target buying things for me!
I'm really really glad we have nothing else better to do tonight. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Getting the Holiday Started

Christmas has always been a month-long celebration in my mind. To pass that along to my own kiddos, we've been finding little things to do along the way to the big day.
(The boys looking at gold, frankincense and myrrh)
This weekend we visited a local church that was set up like a modern day Bethlehem. You visited people along the way all talking about the star and the coming Messiah as well as taxes and the census.
I found it all pretty interesting. Towards the end, you actually see Mary and Joseph with baby in a stable of sorts. Then there were candy canes, cookies and cocoa.
We've been incorporating Christmas into our regular little projects at home as well. I'm not a big fan of gingerbread, so we made graham cracker houses. We just used M&M's to decorate for a couple of reasons. First, I'm cheap and didn't want to spend a fortune on candy that was just going to go stale while we looked at it.
Second, M&M's are my favorite. It seemed like a good reason to eat the leftovers.
Today we borrowed an idea from another homeschooler's blog and decided to decorate a tree on our easel. It turned into a lesson on sharing and negotiation, which was unexpected, but I imagine by the end of the day the tree will be beautifully colored and decorated by both of our boys together. A girl can hope, right?
And yes, sometimes we do school in pajamas... and sometimes the boys aren't really great at finding matching pajamas. I'm not terribly concerned.
I hope you're enjoying all the season has to offer already as well. For now, I'm off to turn up some Christmas music!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thankful Tree

With Thanksgiving coming up, we've done a few special projects to help the boys think about all they have to be grateful for. We have so much to be thankful for this year!
This is a project we've been working on for a while. It's a Thankful tree. I got the idea from another blog I often read called Teach Mama.
We went for a hike last week and picked out a few branches along the way. I spent a couple days searching from some silk leaves to no avail so today we printed and colored our own!
Each leaf has one thing to be thankful for on it. There are still a few more to be added on but I found their collaborative list pretty interesting!
Daddy coming home
peanut butter 
Thanksgiving turkey
North Carolina
video games
driving to Oklahoma
the sky 

Friday, November 19, 2010

He's Home!

It's been almost a week now since Phil came home. It's been such a relief! We're getting back into our own feeling of normal. The day of his homecoming was quite a day!
We woke up at 4:30 in the morning and hustled to get ready and out the door. Once we got there we waited... and waited...
...and waited!
Finally guys started to come in. I started to cry. I couldn't help myself.
I saw all of the guys I know come in. I pointed some in the direction of their family and kept waiting. The boys were so impatient. They couldn't wait for Daddy to get there!
Finally... we saw him.
It was still so crazy with all sorts of people coming in and going out and moving all around.
I held it together perfectly fine... until I saw this:
and this:
I tried to give them time. After all, they have been missing Phil so much lately. I wanted them to have their moment.
Of course they couldn't have him all to themselves forever.
And then there was the kiss. The one and only kiss that could make almost 7 months of deployment okay.
Yep. That was one good kiss!
Then it was time to return to functioning as a 4 person family.
And that is really what we've been doing ever since!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bye, bye, TV!

I was going to email a friend about this who I know has gone without regular TV for some time now, but I figured it might be beneficial for me to write it all out this way instead. Sorry for the long post with no pictures. And to that friend, thanks for being an example.
We made the TV cut a couple weeks ago. We had talked about it off and on for months before. When we decided to get more serious about finances we agreed on this cut. We switched to one of the lower options of Netflix so we would have something to watch when we wanted to. Aside from that, we figured anything we really wanted to watch that was on regular TV we'd be able to find online for free.
I was probably the most hesitant between the two of us. Being home alone with 2 boys day in and day out. When showers must be taken and dinners must be made, TV is an easy babysitter. I am fairly certain no one will be hurt or get into too much trouble while something interesting is on TV. On top of that, once the boys go to bed the house can be a little too quiet at times and the TV functions as my companion in ways as well.
In spite of all my hesitations and... let's face it... fears, things have gone rather well! The boys have found a few shows on Netflix that they can watch when I still need the babysitter and when I really feel the need to give my brain a break and watch something at night I have no problem finding something on Netflix or online. I've even found all my favorite shows online. I just have to switch evenings that I watch them.
Inadvertently,  I've found a few other benefits as well. I had not fully realized the amount of influence advertising had on the boys and myself. Those teeny tiny little commercials that tell you how super fun this new toy is (that is never nearly as fun as it looks in the commercial... thank you very much, Paperoni) or how much you need this new super duper cool lotion to keep your skin supple and smooth. I can honestly say I don't miss commercials one bit!
The ease of one thing always following another kept all of us glued to the screen much longer with regular TV. We can't turn off the TV after this episode of Phineas and Ferb because another one is on right now! Now we have more time to pause in between and realize the other things we should be doing instead of sitting to watch another episode.
In the end, as much as I was afraid of this change to our lifestyle, it has only ended up changing it in ways I'm really excited about. We're watching less TV and the shows we are watching are more diverse and, on a whole, better for us. We are missing out on the commercials that not only steal your time but your self-esteem and even sometimes your priorities. If you are considering making the shift, don't be afraid! It's alright on this side. We've survived to tell the story.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

October has been a month of waiting for us. Phil was very concise when he said the other day, "So close and yet so far." That is exactly how it has felt. We're in the home stretch of this deployment but in the middle of our everyday lives it feels like it is still so painfully far away. We've been doing our best to keep busy and keep pushing on.
We've been busy with soccer practices and games. Both boys are doing really well!
Joshua has taken a liking to playing the goalie particularly but even when playing offense he is one of the better players on his team.
We've been doing a few homeschool group things like a Lego club.
And just last week we went on a pumpkin patch field trip with them.
We've been learning all sorts of things these days! Joshua's favorite new skill is making his own PB&J. He asks for that every day for lunch now!
I've finally found some math that Jeremiah could get excited about. Spiderman math. What's not to love??
We went on another field trip to a local hospital for their open house. The boys got to touch a real human lung. This gave me the heebie jeebies but the boys took it in stride. Who doesn't get to touch a lung on any given Tuesday? The ones on the left is a smokers set of lungs. The ones on the right are healthy.
With Halloween around the corner we've found a few more things to help distract us from the waiting. We carved pumpkins the other day. We'll finish up our work on that front today.
Yesterday we took a trip to Busch Gardens to use up our free military tickets. It would normally cost us over $160 for the three of us to go!
This was the favorite roller coaster. It is the biggest and fastest of the kiddie coasters. We had to ride it one last time before we left last night. We had such a fun time with the Immoos girls.
Hopefully we'll be able to keep finding so many fun distractions for the last bit of this deployment. Every day is one day closer!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Apple Picking... Kind Of

Today we finally got around to the "apple picking" item on my to do list.
Unfortunately with the lack of rain this entire summer, then the deluge we suffered last week, Our trip was less then, shall we say, fruitful.
I know. I have humor issues. I blame my father.
You know what they say... the apple never falls far from the tree.

Yes... that was definitely my Dad. I suddenly feel a little sad for my offspring. Will they also inherit this really bad sense of humor?
We did have a really good time in spite of all the rotten apples. We found just enough to make ourselves an apple pie in the near future.

We also found a couple pumpkins to take home and call our own. Fall is definitely here and even though I'd much rather be enjoying it with Phil, we doing our best to embrace it knowing that soon he will be back home with us.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Air and Space

Yes, I have been slacking about blogging lately.
But we finally did something I considered blog-worthy today!

Today we had a field trip day. It was Homeschool Appreciation day at the Virginia Air and Space Center so the boys and I went.

I became very aware of the fact that there are people who understand this world on a completely different level than I do.
Molecules condensing, moon rocks with traces of volcanic ash and it's implications, gas turning to liquid and returning to gas when reduced drastically in temperature.

I'm a smarter person for our journeys today and definitely a more humble one.

The boys had such a good time. I'm realizing I still have so much to learn as I try to teach them.

Look at this activity, though! A craft to learn about the different kinds of clouds? How ingenious!
So here's to pushing the limits of my own understanding to be a better teacher to the boys!
Hopefully they won't ask about molecules anytime soon!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Package

This came in the mail for me yesterday among other things.
Be still my heart!
I know.
I'm a lucky girl.
Oh yeah!
The boys got some things too.
 I was actually a good Mom and let them open the box. It was for Jeremiah's birthday, after all.
Jeremiah found this little guy in there for him:

A while ago I sent a couple books to Phil and this box contained those couple of books being returned with a thumb drive with videos of him. So tonight Daddy did storytime with the boys.

They loved it! The questions about when Daddy is coming home came up all over again but you could tell they felt like Daddy had been around in a way they hadn't felt in a while. It was a really special treat on an evening when Mommy was struggling.
One more day is done. One more day closer to homecoming.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jeremiah's Big Day

Today was Jeremiah's birthday. It was quite a day!
 It started with pancakes in bed for breakfast. Then we were off to the toy storeto buy a toy. He picked light sabers for both him and his brother.

Then we were visiting the zoo. We just learned about elephants yesterday then noticed they had plans to do something special with them at the zoo today. On top of that elephants are Jeremiah's favorite animals at the zoo!

They had made a 15 foot banana shaped pinata of sorts so we were able to watch them tear it apart to see what was inside.

We even took a train ride! Now that's how you know it's a special occasion! Jeremiah said, "Mom, that train ride was awesome!" Mission: accomplished.

If that wasn't enough, we made a trip to Chuck E Cheese for lunch. Jeremiah is finally figuring out skeeball!

Then after opening presents with Daddy on the phone we headed to a bounce house place here. Believe it or not, 6 months ago, Jeremiah wouldn't have much to do with bounce houses. He refused to go down even the smallest slide. You would never know it from how he was today! He was so impressed with his own bravery. Apparently now that he's 4 he is not worried about the bounce houses anymore (according to Jeremiah).
It was definitely a long day but also a really fun one! we couldn't have asked for a better birthday for Jeremiah. And to think... there's still a party to anticipate this weekend!