Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Graduation... One down - two to go...

My oldest child has graduated. There - I said it! I am not sure I still believe it. There were a few moments while I was sitting there waiting for the ceremony to begin that my emotions were running very high. I was sitting on the floor changing Sebastian's diaper (yes, I will change a diaper ANYWHERE) and all of a sudden I found the tears flooding to my eyes. Where did my first baby go? I was younger than he is now when I became his mother. When he was little it seemed like forever until he would be grown up. The first 10 years of his life, we only had him. He was our focus, our balance, our everything. We spent years going to one meeting after another while he was in public school. First it was Timmy had issues because he was an only child and next it was he had issues because we just had another child. Of course, there was the overused idea that he must have ADD and we should give him meds. I went down that path and scared myself half to death doing it. It felt wrong! Tim went to school with him all day to see how the meds worked. He came home and said there really wasn't much wrong with our child as much as there was something wrong with the fact that teachers no longer had control over their classroom. He pointed out that children wandered around, spoke out of turn, were loud, etc. This caused our distractable child to lose his concentration and want to join in. Yes, I believe he does have mild ADD. I just don't believe medication is the way to treat it. We soon took him off medication. Then one day right after Savannah was born, I had a meeting with a psychologist or somebody. I arrived at the school. She had a file folder with her and was rushing down the hall. She said she was sorry, but she hadn't had a chance to meet with Timmy. Then she said it didn't matter because she had his file. I stopped and looked at her and told her it DID matter that she was about to give me an opinion on MY CHILD and she hadn't even met him. Mind you, he wasn't doing bad things. He was just a talker. He talked a lot! He also refused to write a daily journal from the day he entered school. He didn't hit people or swear or anything really, really awful. This is where my life - our lives began to change. I went on to work. It was a Tuesday morning. I don't know why I remember that so well, but I do. I got to my desk and felt very lost. I felt like I just couldn't put up with the public school for another moment. My thoughts turned to my sister-in-law, Debi. She had a child the same age as Timmy as well as more children and they were all homeschooled. She had always homeschooled. I remember when Sean (my nephew) and Timmy were starting Kindergarten. I thought she was nuts to homeschool. I didn't really understand the concept at all. I respected their decision, but I was pretty sure it was just not an option for me. I reached for the phone and I dialed her SC phone number. She answered right away. I poured my heart out to her as I often did in our friendship. She did what she always did - listened with everything she could give and gave you her very best advice and then, of course, she would pray for you. My main question was - "Could I homeschool if I was working part-time from 9am to 1pm?" Her answer was as simple as this. "How long do you spend on homework each night?" My answer was "about 2-3 hours". Her reply was "that is how long it takes us to do SCHOOL". Wow! Freedom! Of course I had another very selfish question for her. "How will I live without my "ME" time?" Her answer as simple as the first was "You just make your own "ME" time and take it when you can. Before you know it, you won't think life is any different." Finally, I asked her one last question. "Did she think I could do this?" Her reply was that "She knew I could do anything I set my mind too!" Great! Now I had to tell my husband and then my mom. Why my mom? She babysat while I was at work each day. This was going to effect her. I took a deep breath and just told them. They both were very non-emotional. It was just like I had asked do you want to get pizza tonight? They both said that was fine. Okay, whatever. No big deal! That is where our homeschooling journey began. It was February of his 4th grade year. He finished the school year because I thought he "HAD" to. We began 5th grade at home. I will not lie and say it was wonderful. The first 2 years were great, but then 7th and 8th grade were absolutely a test for me. There were tears and laughs and emotion and love and joy.

His graduation ceremony was very well done. They had 256 kids graduate from all over Florida and a few from out of state. I was very pleased with the actual ceremony. There were a few before and after glitches, but overall it was great. I would definitely do it again with my other kids. Below is a video Tim took with our regular camera. It is not great, but it is something. He just got this camera and is sorta figuring it out. You can see the pictures they put up on the big screen and hear what they read as Tim graduated. The other pictures are of all his friends that attended. Tim graduated with another friend of all of theirs named Alex. They stayed and cheered both guys on! What a great bunch of friends! I was really impressed with them sitting through a very long ceremony. Finally, of course, my graduate! Don't you love the really white tennis shoes? Lovely, huh?

Our visit to Downtown Disney...

I am back, finally. Okay, I have been back from convention for days, but I have been busy doing something (don't ask me what). I have three sets of pictures to share with you. The first is of our visit to Downtown Disney. Then I have pictures of Tim's graduation - well actually after his graduation. They didn't allow flash pictures during the ceremony. Finally, I have some candid shots from the convention. I don't think I will get them all on here tonight. At least I have some up though! We left on Thursday and stopped at Downtown Disney. For those that don't know - you can go to this place FREE and little 2 year olds really believe they are at Disney World. Just ask Sebastian. He saw lots of Mickey's and he kept telling me that he was at Disney World. Also, if you have not been there, you need to really go because there is a Ghiardelli's Ice Cream shop there. It is AWESOME! I mean so extremely good that I dream about it every time I even get close to the Orlando area. This time I tried a new sundae that had toffee bits and extra dark chocolate hot fudge! YUMMY! After we ate, we shopped a little bit. Not a lot, but just enough. Then we took the kids on the train and merry-go-round. Finally, they got to run through the fountains. Sebastian was going nuts trying to figure out where the water would pop up next. This was by far the biggest hit of the day. I can't even count the number of times we have visited Downtown Disney over the last 7 or so years and this was the FIRST time the kids have ever played in the fountains. I am sorry we didn't plan to do that earlier because they had so much fun. We left there and hit the outlet mall for awhile. I was so HAPPY to find a Keds Outlet and my very favorite kind of tennis shoe! I am NOT a shoe person, but this was a very big highlight of my trip. We dragged ourselves to the hotel around 10pm and collapsed into bed. The next day would prove to be even more exhausting that the first! More info to come...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Heading to convention...

Tomorrow we are off to the Homeschool Convention in Orlando. Well, I should say that my mom, me, Savannah and Sebastian are heading that way. Tim and Timmy will be joining us later. My sister is staying behind to puppy sit and maybe show my house while we are gone. I will have a computer tomorrow, but then we move to the fancy hotel and you have to pay for internet access. Explain to me how I get FREE computer access at the FREE hotel using my credit card point (a whopping hotel value of $59), but at the FANCY, MORE EXPENSIVE hotel - I have to PAY for computer access! Makes no sense, but it is the truth. Tomorrow, we are taking the kids to Downtown Disney for Ghiardelli's ice cream, a little shopping and possibly playing in the fountains. We may also hit an outlet store or two. The vendor hall opens up at 5pm and I am excited about attending early. I have never been on Thursday night before, but I hear it is a lot less crowded. The kids will be heading to the opening of the new Pirates of the Caribbean on Friday morning at the theater in Downtown Disney! They are very excited! I am waiting to see it when I don't have to take Sebastian with me. There are only a couple speakers I would like to see on Friday, so most of the day will be devoted to shopping in the vendor hall. Saturday has a few more speakers I would like to see. Tim II will be graduating at 7pm in the Sebastian Ballroom! After that we are going to probably all gather somewhere in the hotel for late night pizza! It is sure to be a busy weekend! Many of our friends are going! I am sure looking forward to some fun and relaxation. And... yes... I am even looking forward to finding which math program Savannah will be using next year. Too exciting, huh? I am going into my 9th year of homeschooling and I still get excited over buying curriculum. I do have a few pictures I wanted to share and maybe I will get them posted before I leave tomorrow. See you soon!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Can we talk about how much I love my DVR?

Several years ago, my sister-in-law, Jessica came to live with us when she got out of the Army. While she was here, she introduced me to high speed cable internet. She absolutely hated dial up and offered to pay for the cable internet while she lived here. It allowed us to run our computer and hers all at the same time. Great! I thought, what a treat while she lives here. After she moved out, do you think we just gave up that wonderful internet service? Of course not! We were hooked! And that was even before I knew about WIRELESS internet that now allows me to use my laptop wherever I want. Not too long after this Jessica got this device called a DVR for her cable. She told me about it a few times. It just didn't sink in right away what she was talking about. I knew about TIVO and had long wanted one, but for a long time it seemed that only rich people had TIVO - not your average family. I didn't think I would ever want to really lay out the money to buy the TIVO box and service even though I thought it was something I would love. Again, Jessica, told me about her DVR box. I don't know when it clicked what it was and how I could actually have it in my own home. Remember, I am cheap! Not frugal, but CHEAP! For me to add the $9.99 a month on to my already high cable bill, I needed to think. I finally decided that Tim and I were not even using the cable box in our bedroom anymore. We had been paying like $6 a month for that. All of a sudden, it seemed like a really good idea to get the DVR box. I had no idea how much my life would change with this invention! Okay, here is the truth about me... I am a tv junkie! I love to watch tv. I have a zillion shows I like to watch. I know! I know! I am a homeschool mom. Doesn't that mean I should detest tv and think it is a big waste of time and only read books? Nope, not me! I love my tv. I think I always liked tv even when I was a kid. I remember my parents would go out on Friday night to "the club". I would eat my tombstone pizza and drink my pepsi in front of TGIF. Then I would watch Dallas and Knots Landing. In 1980, I was 8 years old and I was totally enthralled with "Who Shot JR?" I sorta have to laugh because I can't see Savannah watching Dallas, but in my defense - we did not have bunch of different kids channels to choose from at night like Nick Jr, Disney, Discovery Kids, etc. We had Dallas to watch after 9pm! I probably didn't watch as much tv as a teenager because I had a social life. Then I had Timmy and became glued to thirtysomething. I was the 17 year old dreaming of the lives of these people playing thirtysomething characters. My mom tells me I achieved becoming the "Hope" character from that show. I guess I did without realizing it! All through my marriage Tim and I have had "our shows". At the very beginning of our marriage, we really liked "Tales From the Crypt" on HBO. He worked a lot and went to school then. We loved it when we could lay a blanket down on the floor and watch an hour of this once a week. Now we have our DVR. We tape about 5 shows a week that are "our shows". When the kids go to bed, we can start them on our own time. If the kids keep waking up (or as the truth is - fighting sleep) we can pause it, deal with whatever, and go back to where we left off. Last night, Timmy had a friend over. She was watching Heroes with us. We had to pause it 3 times to settle Sebastian into bed. She asked me if my house was always this lively! I laughed and told her that I did really love my DVR just because this was the norm around here. That got me to thinking about this blog post! Now you know the truth about me... I hope it doesn't change your opinion of me. I still like to read and learn about stuff. I just also like to watch Oprah on occasion and of course there is American Idol and Medium, don't forget Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, The Sopranos, Heroes, Little People, Big World, and a few others!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Feast

List 3 emotions you experienced this week.

Fear - over when our house will sell.
Happiness and Excitement - over getting the okay from Keith and Karen to do some of our homeschool together next year.
Sadness - over our Brownie Troop filling out paperwork for next year and talking about us not being here. Our girls just finishing up there 5th year together and they are only 8 years old! Moving will be bittersweet!

Name a car you’d love to have.

I want a car that doesn't exist. I want a car that when you press a button, it pops into a minivan and seats 7. If I only need my car, then it just pops back into a car. I am terrified of driving anything bigger than my car and yet, I feel the time has come for us to have a minivan.

Describe your typical morning routine.

I am almost afraid to type what time I get up because I am sure somebody, somewhere will think I am just plain lazy. The truth is that my husband is a nightowl. I get to spend time with him if I stay up till midnight each night. So... I wake up around 9am. Sometimes I shower before I get Sebastian out of bed. YES - he actually stays in bed till around 9 or 9:30am. I have no idea what I did to deserve this because my other two were like wake up at 6am kids. He has always stayed in bed till around 9am. If I don't get my shower before I get him out of bed, I stumble out to get him, grab a diaper and his clean clothes. I change him on the living room floor and then he runs to the fridge to grab his milky cup. I always fill it the night before in case he wakes up during the night. I learned a long time ago that I don't pour milk very well when I am not awake. I always miss the cup! Once he is settled with his blankie and milk, he and Savannah crawl up on the couch and watch a little tv. I grab my laptop and sit in the rocking chair by them to check my email. Some people have morning coffee. I have email. After that, I get Savannah breakfast. Actually, she is starting to get it herself. I guess she is growing up. Then if I haven't already gotten my shower, I run and take a shower. From there - each morning is different. I may head into cleaning or we may run off to do errands or something. We are on summer break from school right now, but during school time - Savannah may work on some of her independant things in the morning. We leave mommy needed stuff till Sebastian's nap time.

Main Course
Have you ever emailed someone famous? If so, who, and what did you say to them? Did they reply?

I believe I have emailed Lisa Whelchel - Blair from Facts of Life. I bought two her her Adventures of Christmas books a few years ago and she signed them before they were mailed out.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which ones?

I know OF podcasts, but I really don't know what they are. I have been meaning to learn about them, but I just haven't ever gotten around to it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Brownies (the BEST brownies you will ever make)

Among my friends, I have been named the brownie lady. I started bringing brownies to our get togethers a couple years ago. I had picked up the Hershey Brownie mix from Sam's Club. It was a good price and thought we should give it a try. I HAD NO IDEA what effect these brownies would have on my life. I am not kidding you! I mean they have given me a reputation! I think that my friends are really only going to miss my brownies and not me! If we are going to hang out with our homeschool friends at Vickie's house, I MUST make brownies. Then US moms have to keep them near us, so we can eat as many as we want before the kids come to get them. If we have a play or a homeschool outing like for example the sock hop, I MUST make brownies. It is getting to where I really need to bring two pans because one is simply not enough. My friends all believe it is because I make in my Pampered Chef Stone. I am jealous because my friend, Michelle, has not ONE Pampered Chef rectangular baker, but TWO! She could make two pans of brownies in the awesome stone. Or as she did at our last scrapbooking night, she made ziti in one and brownies in the other. I came home and told my mom of my insane jealousy over her TWO stones (and did I mention she has the glazed ones - mine is the older plain kind)! My mom asked me in her most sensible voice, "Why didn't you ever ask somebody to get you another one for your birthday or Christmas?" Well, I don't know! Because that makes sense, I guess. I suppose it is because I always think I am going to have another Pampered Chef party. I love having the parties, but I just haven't gotten to it. Maybe I should before I move. I won't have tons of friends to invite when I move. Hmmm... that is something to think about. Anyway, that was not the point of my post. It is about the brownies! If you go to Sam's club - you must try the Hershey's brownie mix. It is like $5 something a box and it makes two big pans of brownies. It used to make 2.5 pans, but they got cheap and took one of the bag mixes out. I forgive them only because the brownies are so completely awesome! You need to go out and get a Sam's membership and buy these brownies! I am not kidding. Your life will not be the same without them. Oh and I am going to post another favorite thing I buy from Sam's one day soon. Complete with step by step cooking instructions and pictures. I already took the pictures, but they are on a new camera and I haven't figured out how to get them off the camera yet. Enjoy the brownies!

The view from last Friday...

Ash on my car!

In case you didn't hear, there have been some wild fires in Florida. I don't actually know WHERE they are because I don't watch the news. I just know that we have had more smoke than ever before. I don't completely understand why. Several years ago most of I4 was on fire between Tampa and Orlando and we didn't get smoke like this. I took these pictures last Friday with every intention of coming here to post them. I just got busy and more busy along the way. I am finally posting them now, so that is good, right. I know I said I was going to be better about blogging and then I didn't write for a week. It is just that I have some deep philisophical thoughts going on in my head and I haven't been writing them out, but maybe I will share them soon. Maybe I will get back to my old self and post pictures more. I sure hope that I do!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My son is an artist...

I know... I know... it has been almost a week again. I think I have lost my most avid reader - my sister. I am not seeing Arkansas show up on my counter these days. I am sorry I am not posting much. I really do intend to try more. Anyway, Timmy had to pressure wash the roof of my mom's carport last week. I thought he was gone for quite a long time considering it isn't that big of a job. Later in the day, I took my mom home from work to find his artwork. Boy did it give us a good laugh! Who knew he has so much talent? Quite a good self portrait of him, don't you think? By the way, he was pressure washing to get it ready to paint - so it was okay to be a little artistic!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Our house is on the market...

There is a real, honest to goodness sign in the yard. It is advertised on the MLS listing and soon (maybe it already is) will be on REALTOR.COM. I haven't wrote a whole lot on my blog because I try to write when I feel "blessed" with my life. It is not that I don't feel blessed, but I am feeling very stressed. Hey - that rhymes! I feel like we priced it too high and it won't sell and the phone will never ever ring. I feel like I will soon own two houses even though we now only have one income. There are a few other things going on that really have NOTHING to do with me, but because I care for the people that these things are happening to - I am struggling. One is a little boy in our neighborhood and without going into the yucky details here - could you just send up a prayer for a little boy named Jonathon that lives by me. He needs God to watch over him and help him get through a tough time that little 8 year old boys shouldn't have to. He is not sick and he will live, he just needs some prayers. The other has to do with my mom and she will be fine, but she had a minor setback this week and it just plain put a damper on my already not so great attitude. In all of this, I do have things that make me feel blessed. I have WONDERFUL friends. One called me just yesterday and asked me if I was "wiggin"! Yes, I was and at that very moment it was nice to hear somebody tell me it would be okay. Then I met with that friend and a few others later. Again, they listened to me ramble off all of my worries and they assured me it would be okay. We even planned a fun trip to Busch Gardens to reward the girls for selling cookies. Something I would not be able to spend money on right now, but will be taken care of for me. I have also been blessed because my husband broke his back and finished all the work on this house. It looks amazing! It is everything I ever wanted it to be when I moved in here years ago. It has been amazing to see all the projects we planned come into reality. Now that it is done, I have been able to sit and watch the kids swim for a few hours each day this week. (I am not a swimmer unless it is really warm water - so I watch). I am blessed with cable/wireless Internet that allows me to use my laptop by the pool! I guess I am just trying to write all the things I have running through my head. I am trying to have faith that God knows exactly who is supposed to buy my house and when that will be. He also knows if I am supposed to price it too high and wait for awhile, only to change it later. He obviously knows exactly when I am supposed to move to SC and it will happen. Right now, I need to remember I have done all I can do to prepare to sell this house. I can relax just a bit and watch my kids swim. Some way and some how it will all work out.