Friday, May 30, 2014

In Desperate Need of Fun

Sometimes field trips are to further explore a topic you've been covering at school.  Sometimes, field trips are taken with friends to enjoy some homeschooling socialization.  Other times, Mom decides that it's just time for fun.

Ready for Fun on Purpose

Our lives have been very hectic over the past few months.  As a military family, we live our lives in a state of ready.  We're ready for Adam to leave for training, for school, for a trip, for a deployment.  When he's home, we know that our time is precious and not guaranteed.  Some of his time away is scheduled far in advance, other times his absence comes with a little less notification.  In the past several months, he's had different opportunities to sharpen his job skills.  As a result, I don't think that we have taken enough time for fun on purpose.

Today, this mom is being a fun mom.  I pulled out our Kids Love The Carolinas book and did a little exploring.  In the two years we've been in North Carolina, we've never visited Durham.  That ends today.  We're heading up to the Museum of Life & Science and checking out Elmo's Diner afterwards.  And if Jax can handle it, we'll finally be stopping by a place I've very much wanted to visit--The Scrap Exchange.

Unplugged to Plugged In

We're going to play, we're going to laugh, we're going to learn.  I'm going to leave my phone in my purse, only taking it out for photos.  I'm committing to day of being unplugged from social media and plugged into the day with my sons.  At the end of the day, I want the memory to be that we had fun together.  I want them to know that while it can be tough to be a military family and it's really hard to be away from Dad, we are a family full of love.  Sometimes, love is enough.  And really fun, impromptu field trips are pretty awesome, too!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Gratitude from a Military Family

My boys know no other life than being military kids.  My husband enlisted 11 years ago when our first son was just a few months old.  The only life we've known as a family is being a military family just as the only education the boys have known is homeschooling.  While you won't find the stars and stripes decorating each room in our home, we are patriotic to the core.

Today is Memorial Day.  

Explaining Memorial Day to my sons is somewhat difficult.  When you are talking to military children about the sacrifices that servicemembers make, they hear the dangers that their parent may face.  When you say to them that some amazingly heroic individuals paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, they wonder if that is a sacrifice that their parent may have to make.  I want to impress upon them the importance of the day and the symbolism of Memorial Day ceremonies.  I don't want them to worry that each time their Dad leaves, he may not be coming home.  Nonetheless, my sons will know why this day is revered and its significance to our family.

While you enjoy time with your family and a BBQ today, please think of military families.  Many families will be remembering a loved one today, so when your thoughts wander, let it be to them.  Many families are separated from their loved ones today due to military assignments.  When you sit down to eat, be thankful you are with your family.  Thousands of servicemembers have returned home with wounds that are painfully obvious and wounds that are invisible.  Please say a prayer for our nation's Wounded Warriors.

If you know and love someone who has served in our Armed Forces, thank you.  Your support, love, and dedication do not go unnoticed.  If you have served in the Armed Forces, I honestly cannot adequately express my gratitude to you.  Saying thank you doesn't seem to be enough, but I'm not sure what phrase would convey my gratefulness.  In the absence of anything else more profound, I say thank you.

Thank you.

On this Memorial Day, and everyday, this family thanks you for your service to our country.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

So Many Ideas

The last few days have been pretty amazing.  The conference was incredible.  I learned so much, I'd really just like a day or two to let it all sink in and work its way into my head.  However, I can't stop thinking about everything so I've got to put some thoughts into actions.  Some ideas have to do with our homeschool and others are about my personal website/blog.  

What's Changed?

The biggest difference the conference will make in our homeschool is not one you will be able to see.  The biggest thing I learned over the weekend is how monumentally important it is to build the best relationships I can with my sons.  You think that I would already know that, you think that I would see the importance in great relationships with my children...and I do.  The conference didn't just make me realize that relationships were the most important but that school was not.  

The next thing that has changed for me has been the content of my website in the coming weeks and months. You'll still find my regular, witty posts, but you'll also find more posts that relate to various aspects of mothering.  I will also be publishing our daily life and chronicles of our homeschool on a new blog which I will be unveiling in the coming days.

A lot going on, right?  It really was a pretty productive conference.    

Friday, May 23, 2014

2 Ideas That Have Changed Our Homeschool

(Note: This post was made as I finished up my second day at a homeschool conference in North Carolina.  I had heard some great speakers over the weekend, but a few things really resonated with me.  As we continue on in our homeschooling, the following ideas are those that will stick with me. These 2 things I have learned have changed our homeschool.)

I've learned a few things as Day Two of the NCHE Conference ends.  And this evening, I've had some down time to think about them.

#1.  My homeschooling adventure with my sons is far less about the curriculum I choose and infinitely more about the relationship I have with them.  

Sure, school is important.  It's necessary to learn to read and regardless of the difficulty, math is inevitable.  But my sons are going to grow.  They are going to grow, one day move out, and likely have families of their own.  What they will take with them when they leave home will be the relationship they have with me and their father.  That relationship needs my best effort now.  I need to smile more and laugh more.

#2.  I've learned that nothing is more important than #1.

Being here by myself has allowed me a lot of time to think.  In fact, I've done just that for most of the evening.  If I bring nothing else home this weekend, that's ok.  If I leave here without purchasing one piece of curriculum...that's ok.  If I use a computer-based curriculum instead of books...THAT IS OK!

What I need to leave here with is determination to build a great relationship with each of my sons.  Truthfully, in a lot of ways, my relationship with them is pretty awesome.  I love on them so much that when I say "I love you," they say "Mom, I know, you tell me like one hundred times a day....!"  Really, it's only when it comes to school that we have issues.  But I can change that.  I need to change that.

How is your relationship with your children?  How is their relationship with you as their teacher?  Todd Wilson said a lot of amazing things today.  He reminded me that the outcome of homeschooling my children has little to do with their ability to recite math facts and everything to do with our relationship.  When they grow up & move out, the spelling curriculum we used will not be a topic of conversation.  The memories we made, how much fun we had, how much I love them....those will be the things they remember.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day One of NCHE Conference

Day one of the conference has come to an end.  Whew.  I think my eyes are actually closed as I'm typing.

But I wanted to get a few things out before I go to bed.

Why a Homeschool Conference Will Make 
You Feel Like a Homeschool Superhero

First of all, if you've ever doubted your role as a homeschooling parent, attend a homeschool conference.  It will renew your faith in your your abilities.  It will remind you that you made this decision FOR your children because you LOVE them, like love them.  It will encourage you and it will reawaken your tired, broken, end-of-the year homeschool mama (or dad!) spirit.

It will show you how incredible your children are and remind you the blessing that you have in them.  It will tell you once again that your children are born into this world already their own person.  It will fill your head with ways to better implement some great ideas and fill your heart with gratefulness.

Tonight, I listened to an amazing man tell me that my children were meant to be ordinary.  They are meant to grow, to live quietly, to mind their own business, to work but they may not ever be extraordinary people.  And not only is that ok, that's what is intended for them.   Dr. Bradley said that youth today need to be remind that being ordinary is exactly right, but they aren't the only ones.  I needed to be reminded that ordinary is more than fine, but rather their purpose.

I don't have to have child prodigies.  My sons don't have to grow up to save the planet.  In fact, in thinking of how I hope to see my sons as they grow, being world renowned or famous isn't anything I picture.  But our culture and media are telling me, telling my sons, that they need to grow up and be out-of-this-world amazing and that's just not true.

So today, I listened to amazing inspirational people.  I browsed the gorgeousness of pretty books.  I looked at neat manipulatives and I was grossed out by preserved dissection specimens (no, Adisson, it's not time for dissection!!).  And I left there knowing that my children are just ordinary children who will more than likely grow into ordinary adults.  You know, kind of like me and my husband.

And I'm absolutely fine with that.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

He's Still Learning...

I've been rather fussy with my oldest son lately.  I've been complaining that he hasn't been doing enough of his school assignments.  In fact, it was because of him that I decided that we would once again resume schooling year-round, effective June 2.  But I may have been wrong.  (Oh geez, my husband is going to read that sentence....)

You see, my son became a Boy Scout in March.  He was very active in Cub Scouts up to that point and was THRILLED to be transitioning.  Last night was his first Court of Honor.  He was the only one in his patrol that earned merit badges along with his Scout badge, his firem'n chit, and his totin' chip.  His merit badges weren't super difficult to earn, but they did require his time and effort.

And you know what else he did?  He started a business.  A real business.  He's placed an order for inventory, made his product, done a lot of research, made flyers, set-up his vendor booth on two occasions, earned his own money for Boy Scout camp, and much more.  Along the way, he worked on two different merit badges; entrepreneurship and salesmanship.

While he may not have done as much science as I would like (though, that kid has talked my ear off about creatures and plants he's finding in the woods) or maybe enough of his online lessons, he's been learning.  I can recognize that now.  He's been learning in ways that are evident in his Boy Scout path, his knowledge of the nature around us, and the inner workings of his fledgling business.

Isn't that why I'm homeschooling?  So my children can learn in ways they wouldn't be able to otherwise?  So while I'm still not pleased with his lack of interest in his school lessons ("But, Mom, it's soooo nice outside!"), I am thrilled with what he is learning.

But he's still starting the sixth grade on June 2.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Boys and Dead Squirrels

You never know when science is going to rear its head and become a learning lesson at the most inopportune times.  The other day, we were leaving the house to get to Adisson's vendor fair.  Upon pulling out of the subdivision, there was a dead squirrel laying on the road.  He was recently deceased, really just looked as though he was sleeping (in a weird position with his eyes open...but whatever).  He wasn't flattened in the middle nor were his entrails laying beside him.  He was a pretty specimen to see, even though I felt bad for his untimely passing.  (And yes, I'm pretty sure it was a boy.  We had quite the discussion about that, as well.)

This is how I choose to remember the squirrel.

And then the conversation started.  It begins with the four year old.

Why is the squirrel dead?
How did he died?
Why did he died?
What was he doing?
Where was he going?
Where does he live?
Where is his family?

His brothers chimed in with colorful descriptions of what he was doing there and how he died.  Then, Adam realized he left something back at the house.  We had to turn around.  No one cared because it meant we got to see the squirrel two more times, each time driving past even slower (the last time we came to a full stop) to get a look at the squirrel.

And then I got to explain what happens to dead animals on the road. But my explanations were soon drowned out by very graphic descriptions of dead animals.  And mention of exploding animals.

Have you seen the exploding whale video?  (It's gross and graphic!)

That's when you know you are the mama of boys.  Dirty, stinky, gross boys.

But it sure makes for an interesting van ride.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Something is Changing in our Homeschool

I've had a change of heart as far as scheduling for our homeschool is concerned.  We used to school year-round.  Then, I changed to taking summers off, which was awesome!  But we are changing again.  We'll be starting our new school year on June 2.  I will then have a sixth grader, second grader, and preschooler.

Do you know what that means?

I have to make lessons plans for a new school year that will be starting in two weeks!

(insert panicked mom face here!)

BUT, I can do this.  You see, not much of our school year is changing.  Our core curriculum is staying the same (Time4Learning) so I've already started on our lesson plans. I've even made a spreadsheet with dates and assignments for different subjects.  It's not completed, yet, and I'm only scheduling through the end of August, but regardless, I can do this.  The homeschool co-op that we joined starts up in the middle of August so our schedule will be on the lighter side until that time.  

The only part I'm finding a little tricky is that I'm trying to get through some of the lessons to prepare supply lists before Thursday.  That's the day I leave for the NCHE Conference!!  Since I don't buy any curriculum at the book fair portion of the conference, I try to pick up supplies that we'll need for our homeschool year.

Part of me is incredibly excited about this change in our homeschool.  Another part of me wishes we'd have a regular summer vacation.  I just feel like this schedule will work out much better for our family.  The kids are rather skeptical, however.  I'll see what I can do to change their minds.

In the meantime, I've got some scheduling to do.  While our core curriculum will remain the same, I do have a few changes or additions I'm trying to make.  Adisson is going to work on a literature study over the summer (pretty sure he'll be putting this spelling glossary to use) and I'll be adding in some sort of handwriting program (suggestions for middle school?).  Zander is going to be spending a little more time on his school work now that he'll be in the second grade, but he's going to be excited because he loves school!

Between school plans and conference preparations, I'm am about maxed out over the next few days.  I should step away from the computer and get to work!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

NCHE Conference in 9 Days!

Ok, so I'm getting so anxious and excited and all sorts of words like that!  The conference is in 9 days!  NINE DAYS!  In nine days, my aunt will be arriving to take care of my sons.  In nine days, I'll be on my way to Winston-Salem for the conference.  In nine days, I'll have the opportunity to spend a few days really soaking in all things homeschooling and, especially exciting to me, blogging!

So, where am I on the big To Do List?  See below:

Find someone to take care of my children while I'm away. 
Finally purchase a laptop. 
Make hotel reservations.
Have business cards made.
Update appearance of social media networks since I will be directing traffic to them post-conference.

Select seminars to attend.
Make list of supplies needed for next year that I want to purchase at the conference.
Pack blogging essentials.

I've finally designed and ordered my business cards!  Because I took so long to pull the trigger on the purchasing, I had to pay a lot extra for rush printing.  Procrastination costs money, friends.  A little tip from me to you.  I've also been updating my social media networks, though I could use some time updating my pinterest boards.  Time, however, is not something I seem to have in extra supply right now.  

I also managed to find a few hours to do some clothes shopping last week.  I realize that I'm in desperate need of a wardrobe update, but I don't have the time for that right now, either.  I'll settle with finding a few new outfits for the conference.  

This week, I need to make a list of seminars, supplies I want to purchase (owl pellets!!), and narrow down which luggage I'll be taking.  I'm also trying to decide if I'll be taking my rolling cart this year, but I'm pretty sure I won't.  It's rather large and cumbersome and I don't want to be dragging it around when I'm trying to do some blogging work.  

Anyway, I'm over-the-top excited and I'll be sure to catch you up on what I've completed next Tuesday!

Monday, May 12, 2014

How I Spent Mother's Day

My Mother's Day was as typical as any other Sunday.  Adisson had a vendor event for his paracord business so we had to get up early and get ready for the fair.  Last month, Adisson and I went by ourselves but this time, we were all going together.  I wanted to show Adisson we all supported his efforts.

My salesman.

This month, the fair was much better than last time.  We got a good spot with plenty of shade and space for us.  Set-up is pretty easy, as opposed to other vendors who have a lot more products to offer so set-up takes much longer.  We also were lucky enough to be just down the street from a dog rescue booth.  Most of our day was spent walking back and forth between Adisson's booth and the puppies so the kids could have plenty of time for puppy kisses and dog snuggles.  For this mama, a very sweet dog tugged quite a bit on my heartstrings.  She was a very nice, lovey dog that I would really like to consider fostering to see if adoption would be a possibility.

Uh-oh, someone's trying to break the dog out! :)

I'm so sad I wasn't able to get a good shot of her pink toenails.
And yes, that's just how her ears work. :)

I was also blessed with an amazing dinner made by my husband...steaks on the grill!  It was so very yummy!  After dinner, we had a great dessert of chocolate cupcakes, my favorite kind, also made by my husband and two littlest kiddos.  I was given some precious homemade cards that my boys had made the previous evening with their new babysitter along with an adorable card that Jaxon made at Cub Scouts last week.

And I got to spend some time playing with my Mother's Day/Anniversary brand new Chromebook.  It's not just lovely to have my first very own laptop, it's lovely that it's the most beautiful color--ocean turquoise.  It's like it was made just for me.

So, really it was a great day.  No breakfast in bed, but I was the first one awake anyway, and the roses I enjoyed were growing in my own flower bed.  I got to spend the day with my three favorite kids and their super awesome Dad.  While it would have been lovely to spend the day with any/all of my own mothers, it was perfectly lovely to spend the day with my sons--the cutest little kids--the ones who call me Mom.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Learning Along the Way

Recently, after doing a little shopping, we ran across a display for the Wildlife Rescue Center located nearby.  They had 7 birds with them and they were incredible to see!  We stood there to look at the birds for quite awhile.  Because Zander has a thing for small trinkets, we also spent some time looking at the items they have for sale to raise funds for the center.  I was going to donate the money I had on me anyway, but I did allow Z to pick out a fish-shaped pen to take home.  I was still being plagued by the injury Zander had incurred the night before so he probably could have talked me out of a lot more than a fish pen.

I had never seen a vulture in such close proximity and marveled at how gorgeous his ink black feathers were when he spread his wings.  Griffin, the Black Vulture we saw, was spreading his wings and jumping around, really putting on a show for his guests. He must have known how beautiful his wings look when he's being so grand and welcoming.

Griffin, a Black Vulture.

There was a tree branch near the front of the roped off area and when we approached I had no idea that a bird was resting in that spot.  When we finally did see him, we marveled at how well he blended in with his surroundings.  That, we explained to the kiddos, is real camouflage.  And also, the owl was so unbelievably gorgeous that I envisioned how lovely it would be to have owls living in our wooded area.  (I also envisioned a world where I could have a whole owl parliament of my very own!)

Koturi, Eastern Screech Owl

The Wildlife Rescue Center set-up was incredible.  I asked if they did any outreach programs for kids, such as Cub Scout groups.  I was given their card and directed to their facebook page.  I'd love to have a program arranged for the Scouts next fall when we start our new program year.  The birds were absolutely beautiful.

Barred Owl

It could be that I've just got a fascination for these handsome winged creatures and that may be what drives my excitement but there's so much I'd love to learn and to teach my sons about these birds.  It's great not only to find these unexpected opportunities but to use them to talk with your children about what you're seeing and experiencing.  We saw this wildlife display as we were leaving the area.  We had done our shopping and were in the van and buckled up, ready to go.  That is when we saw the birds and without a second thought, we stopped to see and to learn.

Sera, Red-tailed Hawk.

I'm not saying that it's only homeschoolers that stop to take in learning opportunities.  In fact, we saw another Cub Scout family while we were shopping and they stopped to check out the birds, as well.  I'm sure a lot of families take hold of learning adventures when the find them and that's the amazing part of learning and teaching.  When you see a wildlife display with  marvelous birds, you take the time to see them, hear about them, and talk about about them.  When you're leaving a museum and see a station set-up in the lobby to demonstrate the differences of a solid, liquid, and gas, you take a few minutes to observe the process.  Yes, it's been a long day, sure everyone is tired, but there's a scientist in a white lab coat and there's a small blowtorch on the table so you stop and watch.  Because it's awesome.  

What experiences are you going to take in this weekend?  We have a few things going on, but what I want to be sure to get done is to FINALLY plant some pumpkin seeds.  We've talked about it for YEARS and every May, the time slips away and I allow the opportunity to pass.  This weekend, though, we are planting pumpkin seeds.  And showing the boys the awesome new toy we got for the yard ..... details to come on that topic....

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What Happens When a Tooth Comes Out

I previously mentioned that my middle fella had lost his very first tooth.  At the beginning of last week, he came running up to me exclaiming that his tooth was loose!  With as much as he was wiggling it from the first day, I thought he'd lose it rather quickly.

Jaxon was rather concerned about the whole ordeal.  I explained to Zander the process of losing a tooth with my littlest fella listening nearby.  When Jax heard about the tooth falling out, he became very worried that Zander would lose all of his teeth at once and be rendered completely toothless.  "But, Mom!  How would Zander eat his food?!"  He never did believe me that some of his teeth would remain.

After the tooth fell out but before the injury.

I forgot how gross it is when a kid has a loose tooth.  It's all hanging there and sticking out.  It's not terrible for the first few days but then it gets to the point where it's barely hanging on so when they start talking it's like they are breathing with such verocity that the tooth is a little white flag barely hanging onto a pole.  And regardless how much you prepare them for what's going to happen when it finally falls out, when the tooth finally shakes free the whole house erupts in pandomonium.

Z was enjoying a sandwich for lunch on Saturday afternoon when he said he felt something crunchy.  Fearing it was "mold on his bread" (side note: Zander has never once consumed mold and would have no idea what it tastes like.  However, he has tried eating bread from a bag that wasn't sealed leaving parts of it crunchy and/or hard so I think that's what he's referencing) he pulled the sandwich out of his mouth.  That's when the squealing started!  The tooth had finally wrangled free from his gums and was in his hand.

Since he lost his tooth on Saturday morning, he was expecting to hide it under his pillow that evening.  Despite the fact that his tooth had been loose for several days, I still had done nothing to prepare for this exciting event.  I wanted to have a tooth pillow, some little tooth fairy stationery, you know...the works.  But I failed.  (PS, I just love mom guilt.)  So Saturday--the tooth comes out, we leave just an hour later to head out to the birthday party I blogged about, had an injury that took us to the ER, and got home rather late.  Zander was disappointed that we didn't get to do all of his tooth fairy stuff but I placated him by asking to wait until his Dad returned home to be part of the festivities.  Really, though, it was to buy me some time.

Some super cute stationary I found online.
I changed it up a bit, but it's so lovely! 
And still I wasted it.  Finally, though, after I sent the fellas up to bed on Sunday night, I started working on Zander's tooth fairy pillow.  His older brother helped him write a letter to the tooth fairy (which was super sweet) and it was already stashed under his head.  I whipped up his tooth fairy pillow rather quickly so I ran it up to him hoping he was still awake.

Due to an intense desire to find the tooth fairy flying about, Z wasn't yet sleeping and LOVED the pillow.  I'm pretty sure it couldn't have looked any worse than it did, but Zander didn't care.  It was made from some superhero material I had leftover from a project I made for him once and a pocket from a t-shirt he used to wear to bed.'s a hot mess of a pillow but that kiddo---he's just amazing and told me it was "AWESOME!!"

A less than perfect tooth fairy pillow.

So, the point of this post is even though you think you've totally flaked on something, your kid sees an effort.  He sees when you have taken time to do something special, he sees when you do something that's just for him.  What he doesn't see are uneven stitches or an off-center pocket for holding a tooth.  He went to sleep knowing that I thought this event was special.  Crooked stitches and all.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

This Blogger Preps for a Conference

The NCHE Convention is taking place on May 22-24 in Winston-Salem, NC.  Today is May 6th, so I have just 16 days in which to prepare.  And I am so excited!  I've been to the NCHE Conference each year since we moved to North Carolina, but this year will be extra special for me because I was chosen to be part of the Conference Blogging Team.

Truthfully, I'm a little intimated.  I've gotten to know several of the other members of the blogging team through internet chats and these ladies are AMAZING!  I'm truly honored to be counted amongst such a superb group.  Also, I find myself as a small-time blogger and different from other homeschool bloggers because I don't offer anything to take-away from my site.  No worksheets, freebies, or neat downloads.  I merely offer to the worldwide web a glimpse into our daily lives.  Nonetheless, I was chosen to be a part of the conference in this way and I'm elated for the opportunity.   My ultimate dream would be to speak at a conference.  :)

It's Time to Make a List

So how am I getting ready?  Here is my checklist of things to do to prepare:

Find someone to take care of my children while I'm away.
Finally purchase a laptop.
Make hotel reservations.
Have business cards made.
Update appearance of social media networks since I will be directing traffic to them post-conference.
Select seminars to attend.
Make list of supplies needed for next year that I want to purchase at the conference.
Pack blogging essentials.

This list will change frequently because I've forgotten something or I've done something and want to feel like I've accomplished something great so I want to add it to the list so I can cross it off.  (Wowza...heckuva run-on sentence.)

I've managed to get a few things crossed off of my list so far.  I'm thrilled that I've been able to secure childcare and my husband snagged me THE CUTEST laptop in the most lovely shade of ocean turquoise.  I desperately need to get my business cards made.  I've been looking for an inexpensive graphic designer, but I've not had any luck.  I suppose I'll try my hand at doing it myself.  We'll see how that goes.

Anyway...I'll keep you updated with my preparations for the conference next week.  We'll see what a difference a week makes.  :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Backyard Laser Tag is All Fun and Games Until...

We had been waiting for the weekend after a pretty mellow week.  Our Saturday started out pretty great when Zander FINALLY lost the loose tooth that he has been wiggling around all week.  Later, the boys were thrilled to have been invited to a backyard laser tag party.  And let me tell you, they were not disappointed.  It was awesome and we had such a good time that we're hoping to have our own backyard party in the coming months (though, it doesn't look super hopeful with the condition of our backyard).  In the last round, adults joined in on the fun...including this adult.

And then it happened.  The Incident.  My boys rocked at Laser Tag.  Seriously, each of them were supremely good at the game.  Adisson was pro, Zander was fearless, and Jax was so cute!  In the aforementioned last round, I was having a ton of fun playing and while hiding behind a tree to shoot some guys on the other team, I noticed that everyone stopped moving and started calling for me.  Zander was injured.

At first it was thought to be a bloody nose.  When I got to him as he was kneeling on the ground, I saw that it wasn't his nose.  Blood was covering his face and gushing from his head.  He rounded a corner and ran into another player (a cute little sweetheart we know who played laser tag in a dress!) who he had been bumping into the whole evening.  This time, however, it wasn't a bump.  It was the barrel of the gun slicing into his face and leaving a deep, crescent shaped gash that was spewing blood.  I knew right away that an ER visit was necessary.

He was terrified that he would need stitches.  Truthfully, I was terrified, as well.  I had a very traumatic experience a long time ago with my best friend's oldest son.  At the time, he was just a tiny little toddler and while in my care, there was an incident that required him to receive stitches.  It was a difficult situation for me and I was worried I'd be reliving it with my emotional little guy.

Thankfully, the doctor determined that the cut could be fixed with some skin glue.  I nearly lept off of the chair in excitement.  It was a short-lived excitement as the glue began to sting quite a bit once it worked itself into the cut.  :(  That part wasn't so good.  After a relatively short time in the ER, we finished up and made our way back to the party.

The following day, Zander looked a bit of a mess with a swollen eye and a missing tooth.  I hoped a trip to get some frozen yogurt would lift his spirits and it did but he spent the rest of the evening pretty tired and worn out.  Suppose it was too much activity for my weary kiddo.

All in all, this post was written for a few reasons.

  1. A friend said this would give me something to blog about and I told her that I would.  
  2. I know my family will want to all the deets.  
  3. And I this is what the the life of a Mama of three little boys is all about...dealing with bang-ups and blood.  

Also Happening in the McGhee Household

In other news, I got word that my parenting partner will be away for a bit more time than I was expecting in the coming months.  I'm not thrilled about it but when is it ever exciting to hear that your significant other will be away for any length of time?  The last few months haven't been very peaceful for me and I've been dealing with some things personally.  I'm not sure what I need to do to get it smoothed out, but hopefully that answer comes to me soon.  In hopes to make up for Dad being away for work, I'm trying to plan some extended family time.  There are a lot of details I need to work out for that to happen so I've got some planning in store.  

In the meantime, I've got a lot to do this week and not a lot of time to get it done.  I'm also pretty sure the school year is going to be largely wrapped up for us before the convention so we've got a lot of things to finish between now and then.  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Nice, Slow Week

If you've read a few of my posts here at Home With My Sons,  you'll know we can be a rather busy bunch of people.  Here, there, stuff going on.  This week, however, not so much.  Due to weather Scouts was cancelled and we had no other daytime or evening commitments.  I had my treatment on Wednesday so I was out of the house for a few hours, but the boys were here at home with our babysitter.

How we spent the week....just chillin'.

And was a nice week.  The weather was a little crazy for a few days so we were stuck inside but it was just so relaxing to not have anything going on.  We managed to get some parts of the house organized that had been neglected due to lack of time.  We got school work completed.  I read a few books and we watched some movies together.  It was refreshing.  In the coming weeks, slow and peaceful will not be the words used to describe our lives.

Today, we'll be heading out to a friend's house for a birthday party and the boys have been looking forward to it all week.  Plus, it will be nice to have some adult interaction as I've been lacking that for awhile.

One of the most exciting things to happen to me this week is finally figuring out what to do about childcare during the homeschool conference.  If you don't know, I'll be attending the NCHE conference this month as a guest blogger.  I'm beyond thrilled at the opportunity and I've been anxiously awaiting Memorial Day weekend since I received word in January that I was selected to be part of the blogging team.  Then, I was informed by the powers that be (my husband) that I would likely need to find alternative arrangements for my sons to be cared for during the conference.  The plan was for me to attend the conference solo and my awesome husband to stay home with the kiddos.  That is no longer the plan.  Thankfully, I've secured an awesome replacement and I can still attend the conference.

Now, though, I MUST start preparing for the conference.  I'm not sure why I've waited so long to get started.  Perhaps it's because I wasn't COMPLETELY sure I was going to be able to attend.  Now that I know I'm going, I've got to get moving.  There are a million things I need to get done before I arrive but the important ones are making hotel reservations and business cards.  (Side note: I'm absolutely looking for an inexpensive graphic designer to help me with that as well as coordinating my social media networks...please message me/leave a comment if you know someone!)

Awesome info I found at
Click the photo to check out this really neat site!

I can't wait to attend sessions/workshops and cruise the vendor hall.  With choosing to participate in a co-op next year, I'll need to pick up a few things for our co-op classes and would like to do so at the conference.  As far as our curriculum, we're not making many changes so I just want to take some time to look into the supplies we will need for school next year.

Really,  I'm just so excited to go and meet some new people.  It surprises people that we're entering our 8th year of homeschooling and that we've homeschooled from the beginning.  I certainly don't have this all figured out (I'll get the hang of it when Jax is graduating) and I can't tell anyone how to homeschool, but I'm ready to be encouraging.  I'm ready to tell  people that homeschooling is not only possible, but it's pretty amazing.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Our Reactions to a Local Play

A few weeks ago, the boys and I had the opportunity to check out a local play.  This was no ordinary play, however.  It was a musical performed by homeschoolers.  Wow, right?  We attended The Prodigal Princess and the Knights of the Slightly Oblong Table.  

I was a little apprehensive to take the littlest guy because he's not typically one to hold still and be quiet.  He had also napped earlier in the day so there was no chance he was going to fall asleep during the performance (which would have been lovely).  However, despite my concern for Jaxon's behavior, we didn't want to miss the play.  Most importantly, we wanted to support local homeschoolers.  Secondly, we knew someone who was in the play!

Ok, so confession time: I've never taken the kids to see a play.  I suppose I've not found one they would be interested in viewing.  This time, I knew they'd be hooked right away...I mean the performers were kids.  Homeschooled kids!!  We were excited when we got to the community center and picked up our tickets.  We snagged decent seats, but the place was filling up fast.  When the lights dimmed and we knew it was time to get started, the boys were very already on the edge of their seats!

And let me tell!  It was pretty incredible.  The kids on stage were just amazing.  The narrators were just absolutely fantastic. There were laughs to be had throughout the evening.  The Knights were hilarious and the minions (I think that's what they called themselves....) had my boys doubled over in laughter.
Jax was getting very restless so at intermission I asked the older boys if they wanted to leave, but they were having none of that!  They HAD to see what was going to happen next.  There's no way they wanted to leave yet!  So we checked out the snack stand and had some refreshments.

The break settled Jaxon down for a little while, until the first time the lights dimmed and he asked if we were leaving.  I know I should have left him with the babysitter but to his credit, despite being taken over by the wiggles and squirmies, he was quiet the ENTIRE time.  He stayed seated with me for the entire performance.  So really, I was a winner here!

The performance was so good, it is being made into a movie!  Click here for additional details.

But for me, it wasn't just a night about the play.  I mean, it was inspiring to watch.  Zander even told me as we were leaving that he loved the play so much and that it was "better than a movie!"  But there was a moment on stage when it was all over that was amazing to witness.

You see, not only was this play performed by homeschool kids, it was written and directed by a homeschool graduate, Joshua Rexford, and the music was written by his younger brother.  We saw the last performance and at the end their Mom stood on stage with her sons and just wanted to take a moment to embrace that one tiny second.

It was that small, fleeting moment that I cherished.  That homeschool mom and I likely have little in common.  Well, homeschool moms---sons---guess those are big things....but in that moment, it's like I could feel how full of love her heart was for her boys.  It was special for me, so I'm sure it was quite breathtaking for her.

It was an amazing way to end an entertaining evening.