Wednesday, February 29, 2012


 I have come to several conclusions in the last couple days:

I've concluded...
...that the best way to end the day of a birthday is with my son saying, "Mommy, I need to tell you something. Thank you for my truck." Followed by a big hug.

...that the first picture of Josiah on the previous post makes my heart flutter. My son could be a heart breaker and his Mama will be his first victim.

 ...that i simply cannot be in two place at the same time so I WILL have {huge} messes to clean up.
AND...that the age of 1 is just not my favorite age. That's melted ice cream and yes, Little Miss laid the fan down so that she could stand on it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

 Happy 4th Birthday Josiah!

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Double Birthday Party--Josiah

 Josiah was so excited for his party. He wanted to help put his cake on the table and could hardly wait to open his presents. I said the word "wait" to him over and over. Poor guy! He was just excited!!

Josiah wanted the same cake he had last year. That's what he got! He loved his tractors on the cake.

Josiah opened tractor after tractor. This John Deere backpack kept him occupied the rest of the day. He carried around his new tractors and took them out and put them back in over and over.
 A picnic blanket for the children to eat lunch on. Anna got in on the fun too. I'm pretty sure she ate pizza off each child's plate. At one point she was walking around with a pizza crust in each hand.
 Josiah worked SO hard to break his pinata. He swung so many times that he got tired and finally used his hands to finish breaking it apart.

 After Josiah blew out his candles, he sang Happy Birthday to Aliza with the most serious expression on his face.
 Then Josiah asked for his knife (a safe cutter from Pampered Chef). He wanted to cut and serve his cake. I had no idea he was going to do this and I just stood there with my heart in my throat. He was so serious and sincere. I'm pretty sure he would have given everyone two pieces if they would have let him.
 Josiah asked me for a drink because "Mommy, the server is thirsty and needs a drink."

 After he finished serving it was time for the real fun. The cake apparently became a construction site. I asked him about the candles embedded in the cake. He said they were trees that needed to be "bonked" down so that a house could be built.
What a fun, fun day!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Double Birthday Party--Aliza

 We had a double birthday party for Aliza and Josiah this weekend. I started to write a double birthday blog and I couldn't do it. There was too much I wanted to say and and too many pictures to choose from!

Aunt Brandi french braided Aliza's hair for the party. Despite her fine hair, that braid stayed in all day.

This is Aliza's side of the dining room. All pink and Lalaloopsy themed. She carefully chose which Lalaloopsy cupcake pick should be on each cupcake. I put micro lalaloopsy figurines on her cake. I think she was pleased.
 Aliza greeted Lydia right away. Aliza can always make Lydia laugh.
 A Lalaloopsy carrying case from Grandma and Grandpa...
 And a Lalaloopsy treehouse (that Aliza has been wanting for "years") from Grandma and Grandad...
 Uncle Jeff patiently assembled the treehouse with Aliza.
 Then Aliza took her treehouse upstairs to play. There are a lot of small pieces so it was best not to have it on the floor. Aliza spent the rest of her party taking whoever would go with her up to see her treehouse. She played and played and later she and Josiah spent a lot of time playing with it together.

Aliza wanted me to sit with her while she ate her pizza.
 Every evening last week Aliza and Josiah each worked with Daddy to make a pinata for their birthday party. This is Aliza's pinata. Those pinatas were tough! Aliza eventually laid it on the floor and beat it until it broke open!
 And, of course, we had cake!
Aliza woke up at 6am the day of the party ready for the day to start. This was after she went to bed after 11pm because she stayed up to see Grandma and Grandpa and Joel and Brandi. I enjoyed seeing her so excited. She was eager to help set up and decorate and greet her guests. And opening Lalaloopsy gift after Lalaloopsy gift-- that was the icing on the cake for her!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Winter Sun

 A couple days ago I wrote about our first snow and today I'm writing about our warm weather and fun outside! It is a winter warm, not a spring warm, but it is nice to be outside without coats.

We had some super fun cousin time today. Josiah and Caleb are just great buddies. When it was time for them to go Josiah said to Caleb, "I had so much fun playing with you."
Aliza declared Meghan her best buddy...because "She is so pretty. Her hair is long and straight." Then Aliza proceeded to take my hair out of a ponytail. I guess I should get the hint! I stayed outside with the boys so that Aliza could have some time with Meghan.

 Josiah started this hole quite a while ago. It is really deep now and getting bigger! The boys were loading dump trucks with dirt and making a new "sandbox for boys" on the deck.

Anna crawled in the hole. 
 We parted ways for lunch and naps and then the boys came back over to take walk. It was a fast walk. There was lots of running. I love how the cousins make a crowd.
 And Josiah played in the "boy sandbox" until suppertime.
A lovely little reprieve from winter.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


My head and body feel like they are still spinning from the day. Nothing particularly bad or unusual happened it was just B.U.S.Y.

We were headed to the indoor bouncy house playground this morning with my sister and another friend. As I was getting the last couple things done so we could leave, Anna pulled a bowl of Cheerios and milk off the table. She is reaching for everything within reach right now! I was annoyed and as I was cleaning that up Anna followed Aliza and Josiah outside. So when I was ready to put on shoes and coats Anna was in the sandbox and walking around in the snow that was left. Had to change her socks...should have changed her pants.

Next stop was the post office where I found out word had traveled quickly about the robbery that happened at our neighbor's house. Since I am the closest neighbor the people there were interested in hearing my part of the story (the State Trooper came to our house and talked to us). That took some extra time and I was a little paranoid when I came home today.  I'm sure we will be fine though.

We finally made it to the playdate. Josiah took a while to get comfortable. I had two kids on my lap for a few minutes. Anna eventually got very in I lost track of her and found her reaching up for another Mommy to pick her up! Ugh! At least it is a safe place. The times I lost track of Anna were the moments I was watching Aliza come down the slide or giving Josiah a second of attention on the bouncy thing he liked. Then Aliza decided to whine because she was older than the rest and didn't have a "bouncing partner." There was precious few seconds to talk to the other Moms.

Our traditional stop after that is the Pet Shop. I didn't plan well and had to carry Anna through the store. My arm is sore tonight! haha.

Then...Returned a DVD to the library and stopped at the bank. Josiah is complaining about his tummy. I figure he is just starving. Drive through McDonalds. Josiah throws up. I drive home as fast as I can. Run to door to make sure it is locked and no windows are broken etc. Grab Anna and put her in highchair (no food yet). Get Josiah out of car, in the house, and clothes changed. Put some food on Anna's tray. Bring in carseat. Uncover carseat and start a load of throwup laundry. Get Aliza and Josiah food. Josiah eats and doesn't get sick again. Give more food to Anna. Heat up some food for me and eat. Take exhausted Anna to bed.

Rest Time! Thank God!

Play Baseball Wii with Aliza. Start school. Go outside for 45 minutes to follow Anna around. I'm freezing and she doesn't care. Come inside to start supper. I take a phone call and cook supper while insisting that Aliza finish schoolwork, break up fights, find Josiah unrolling a roll of paper towel, find Anna dumping a dish of goldfish and who knows what else.

When supper is 5 minutes from being finished I find out that Jeremy is going to be a half hour late so I hold off supper so Aliza can finish her work, but that means Anna is starving and Josiah is bouncing off the walls.

We finally have supper and I ask Jeremy if he can just stay home from Bible study tonight because everything is spinning out of control and I'm still jumpy and don't want to be home alone. Thankfully he agrees.

So I end up getting to spend some time with Aliza. The new Bob Jones catalog came today so we looked at next year's schoolbooks and saw who the teachers are for distance learning. Aliza was really excited and, honestly, so was I. Then Aliza found an elementary Spanish kit and got excited about learning Spanish which made me excited that she was excited and so we were excited together.

Finally everyone is in bed. Josiah made one last attempt to gain my sympathy. He came in and said he was scared. He explained that Big Scared means there are shadows and Little Scared means that he is not scared and "Mommy, I'm Big Scared." I tucked him back in.

I'm done spinning now. I'll go to sleep and be ready to start tomorrow. Maybe the pace will be just a bit slower. Maybe.

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Snow

 This is our first snow of the year and Anna's first snow to play in. I had a doctor appointment first thing this morning so Jeremy got to play with the children in the snow. He had to promise me he would take pictures of Anna since I missed her first snow experience.

It looks like she had fun despite her hat being too small and her shoes falling off her feet! We are so ill-prepared for snow! The snow was mostly gone by noon and by Wednesday we are supposed to be back up in the 60 degree weather. Fine with me!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Thoughts

There haven't been many pictures of me recently! My mother-in-law attempted to get my children to smile at the camera for her. At least Josiah was looking at the camera--even though he doesn't look the least bit happy about it. Ah well. I'm smiling!!

Aliza made my day today. She was banging on a plastic tub with spoons and Josiah was playing his basketball hoop guitar (you have to see it to understand, I think). Aliza sings along with her drumming and today's song was all about how much she loves Mama. More than Mario Kart. More than Lalaloopsy dolls. More than everything! Wow!

That's beside the point. I'm trying to write about myself tonight. Life naturally cycles through ups and downs. January is always a long month for me and this year was no exception. I think adding "teacher" to my job description this year really added to my natural "down" in January. I had my first day of seriously questioning the sanity of educating a child at home. I've had many times of wishing for a home school playdate. I put on the "school is going great for me" mask more frequently to people who are sympathetic to my efforts, but have no experience of home schooling themselves. And I became increasingly concerned about what others thought of my child and our educating at home.

It all came to a head on Monday when I had my home school review with our county's Board of Education. The reviewer was professional, respectful, and kind. Since this was my first review I did not know what to expect, but the little I heard from others it was "not a big deal" and I was told that they hardly looked at the student's work. I put together my portfolio and then took all of Aliza's work thus far and lesson plans just in case I needed them. I was hoping that the reviewer would be familiar with Bob Jones University Press from other homeschool reviews. She wasn't. And I immediately made a hole for myself when I explained that all of the instruction was on DVD. The reviewer's assumption, she told me, that was Aliza watched the DVD and did nothing else. The next thing I had to clarify off the bat was that I am only teaching Aliza kindergarten this year. On the form I had noted kindergarten as "K-5" and she thought I was saying that I was teaching kindergarten through fifth grade. Seriously? Anyway, those things unnerved me and as she looked through the portfolio I could see she wasn't "getting it." I pulled out all of Aliza's work (an almost full 2 inch binder) and the reviewer looked through everything....down to commenting that Aliza does not always write her own name on her papers (sometimes it is Mom, sometimes Daddy etc.) Ultimately, she gave me a very good review and said that I provided evidence of education in all subject areas.

The experience left me feeling unnerved and vulnerable. I left and started crying. I was not prepared for how personal it would feel to lay out to the government how I am educating my child. My feelings of loneliness intensified through the day. I so desperately wanted a friend to call that had also gone through this review. I need to talk...a lot...I need to tell my story more than once!! I need lots of friends so that one person doesn't have to hear it over and over! haha.

Thankfully I do have sympathetic family and friends and I did tell my story. One dear friend got the teary version on the way home and she helped me think of how I will present differently next time.

We took two days off school this week just for a breather. I needed it and Aliza needed it. She also thought that Valentine's should be a no school holiday! A long time ago I realized that I needed to put on blinders, so to speak, when it came to parenting my children and I realized this week that I need to put blinders on when it comes to educating my children. I need to be focused and put my efforts on giving my very best to my children instead of looking around at everyone else and worrying about what they think or don't think. I need to remain convinced that what I'm doing is the best for our family at this time in our lives and not feel like I have to defend or explain that to anyone else.

And now I will work on walking that out day by day!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Heart Party 2012

 It looks like our Valentine heart themed supper has become a tradition. Josiah helped me bake and decorate the cupcakes. We spent the morning decorating paper bags for Valentines and making Valentines. Of course, there was plenty of chocolate available for consumption all day.
A paver for Josiah.

A Lalaloosy for Aliza. I must add that it was the ONLY Lalaloopsy in the store and I was a very happy Mama to find it hidden in the clearance section.

Anna and her cupcake.
Jeremy had a busy day. He was late for supper because a computer broke at the time he planned to come home. The children and I picked up the Papa John's heart shaped pizza so Jeremy could come straight home. Then it was a quick meal (I don't think the children noticed) and off to Bible study. Jeremy came home from Bible study with flowers and a card for me. That was a nice surprise and a nice end to the day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Blog-Worthy Day

 Aliza came bouncing into our room this morning to tell us that she lost her first tooth! When she woke up it fell into her hand. (No, she did not cooperate for a picture.)

When we had some issues with our toilet this morning, Jeremy confessed that yesterday, while I was gone, he found Anna stirring the toilet water with a spoon. He found another spoon in the toilet this morning. I don't know how he found it and I didn't ask.

We attended church with some friends this morning. My children severely humbled me and showed me some specific behaviors that will be addressed.

Josiah was given some hand-me-downs from the friends we attended church with. He was so excited that he carried the bag to his room and sorted them by himself. They are at least a size, probably 2 sizes, too big, but Josiah did his best to convince me that the clothes fit him right now.
I made apple nachos that I saw on Pinterest for dessert tonight. I used caramel and chocolate chips. Next time I'll melt the chocolate chips and add nuts also.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Banana Split Event

 I had so much fun today. It was a day out complete with scrapbooking with some of my favorite gals, lots of talking, my Mom at the table with us, and Gramma's Valentine banana split.

 The banana split speaks for itself. I can't add anything.

My Gramma has a knack for making something as simple as a banana split an event. She decorated her house with her collection of all things hearts and the table was filled with lots of sweet treats--on a lace tablecloth. Gramma was just completely tickled to be able to do this for us girls. I will always keep this picture in my heart--it is 100% Gramma.

It was a perfect getaway day. I hope the refreshed feeling lasts for a bit!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Some Things

  • My nephews cracked me up today. They hunted stuffed animals and gathered some forks, threw the animals on the table and then "ate" their hunt.
  • Facebook makes it so easy to make plans with all my sisters at the same time.
  • Pinterest was perfect for letting my children choose birthday party themes. I knew what they wanted and found two options, took them to Pinterest to show them and there were only 2 to choose from instead of the million other ideas on a website.
  • Laying with Josiah at night gives me extra time to read. He sleeps on the floor in his Thomas the Train tent so I figured out that I can use a book light and read instead of just laying there feeling impatient. However, I did tell Jeremy that laying with Josiah is a job I'm glad we share!
  • Anna finally has tooth number 7 as of yesterday. And she says "up." 
  • I put together a portfolio for my homeschooling review by the State. I'm resisting the urge to practice my presentation with Jeremy since everyone I've talked to said it is not a big deal.
  • It's really nice to have a phone conversation after the children are in bed once in a while.
  • The above explains why Jeremy had to inform me that I had twice as many texts as him last month. I'm pretty sure texting was made for busy Moms with loud children. 
  • Josiah has finally taken to wearing boxers. This is an improvement from wearing nothing under his pants. 
  • Aliza is giving me lessons on playing Mario Kart on the Wii. I'm truly awful at playing video games. She was far more encouraging to Josiah tonight when she was giving him lessons. I heard things like, "You're doing it Buddy! Good job!" To me she put her arm around my shoulder and said, "It's ok, Mom. I had to practice a lot too."
  • I'm looking forward to a fun weekend!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl Night

For quite a few years now, we have watched the Super Bowl at my parent's house. The men are gracious enough to watch the game over the squeals of children. I have a confession though, I can really get into a good Super Bowl game. Last night's game was one of those good ones. I started watching in the second half and by the 4th quarter I was being accused of ignoring my eldest daughter (by my eldest daughter) because I couldn't tear myself away from the game! Well, it might be true. We were rooting for the Giants and it was fun to watch them pull off this win.

The game is one thing--then there is the half time show. For some reason Aliza would not leave my side last night so she was there for the entire show. Thankfully, my boy was over in his Great Grandparent's apartment. The light show was great. The choreography was neat. The production of it all was amazing. But that dancing... I knew I had to say something to Aliza. She was not able to verbalize her feelings about the show, but we had a brief discussion about what it means to be "ladylike" and how some of the dancing was not very "ladylike."

There's another thing about Super Bowl night--we are on the East Coast so the game starts at 6:30pm and it makes for a VERY late night. We got home at 11pm. Anna did not settle well when I put her bed on time at Mom's so she ended up staying awake and stayed awake ALL the way home in the car. Aliza was beyond exhausted. She slept until 9:15 this morning. I don't remember her ever sleeping that late. Anna and Josiah slept in too, but not as late. Oh well. It's just once a year. A little sleep deprivation never hurt anyone--except maybe me!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My {Baby} Girl

 Anna is now 14 and a half months old. I can hardly call her my baby anymore! Her cheeks are still oh-so-kissable and she still has her pudgy baby rolls. On the other hand, she loves to eat popcorn and when she wants something she takes my hand, leads me to it and says, "Ah-nah" (Anna). She bit her big brother this week yet still cries when he barely touches her. So big, yet still my baby for a little while longer!

This is a picture I've been waiting for. If Anna has that blanket, she sucks her fingers and snuggles in (when she is tired). Recently she has been finding the tag and putting it up by her fingers. It's so funny what habits little ones develop.