Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Today's Adventure

Today the fam ventured to Disneyland and California Adventures to enjoy the Halloween decorations. The pumpkins are amazing!

The kiddos enjoyed checking out all of the cool planes. Bubba and I got soaked on Grizzly River Run but we had way too much fun and giggled throughout the adventure.

Everyone got to go on a ton of rides and the lines were all under 5 minutes. The new Toy Story ride at California Adventures was super fun for all of us. It was fun competing with each other to see who could get the most points. (Yes, our family is a bit competitive...okay maybe it's just Jay and I :)

Sophie refused the stroller part of the day so Pop's shoulders sufficed.

Even Miles had fun and was absolutely wonderful and content (although he did refuse to nap.)

Sophie rode the Toon Town roller coaster ALONE with Alec. She wanted to do it by herself and she loved it. It was amazing to watch the two of them walk off and get in line by themselves. Sophie suddenly seemed so big and a little bit of my heart broke. She did refuse The Matterhorn this time. I think it may have been a little overwhelming for her the last time she rode it.
The highlight of the day was Sophie getting to meet Minnie Mouse. This was a first and she was speechless.
What an amazing day with well-behaved, grateful children. It was absolutely perfect.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cell phone madness

As some of you may remember I dropped my phone in the bath tub earlier this week during the stomach flu saga. I thought that it had survived as it turned on and I was able to make calls. Yeah...not so much.

For the last few days if you have had the privilege of talking on the phone with me I sound like: a) I'm in a tunnel

b) I'm surfing North Shore

c) My freakin' phone was dropped in the water and now it doesn't work

So today we ventured to Verizon to remedy the situation. Jay had to go with me because of course I am not the "primary" account holder and they had to be sure I was legit. I walked in defensive and ready to for battle. I, among many other people have a very bad history with cell phone companies. I usually get the runaround and end up forking over way too much cash to get a phone replaced. After handing the phone over to "Howard" and explaining that my friends are going to start blocking my calls unless I get this fixed he begins to look up our "history" on his computer. Thoughts begin running through my head as I prepare for war. He glances up, smiles (wow!), and says, "No problem your phone is still under warranty and we will gladly replace it for a new one today at no charge." OH MY GOSH!!! I nearly jumped across the counter to kiss him on his big, greasy forehead. Thank you Verizon and bless you dear Howard!

Okay people...let's run up those minutes, I'm available to chat.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A little laundry

As I was frantically trying to get everyone out the door today, I stumbled over a full laundry basket that had been strategically placed in front of the door opening to the garage.

"ALEC!!!! Is this where the dirty laundry goes?! I'm going to kill myself tripping over it!!!" (etc., etc...of course I went on and on)

(Maybe I didn't use enough exclamation points?) Alec came running in telling me that he didn't put it there. (Should I believe him...he is twelve.) What the heck is going on? Did I put it there in one of my baby brain, delirious, moments of insanity? As I sat there trying to get it out of the way in walks my precious baby girl.

"Mama! Don't you move my basket! I have to do the laundry!!!"

My sweet daughter had gathered all of the dirty laundry from everyone's bedrooms, filled the basket and pushed it as far as it could go...the door leading to the garage (where the washer and dryer are.)

"Mommy, please open the door...I need to start awashing my clothes."

Have I also told you that she has developed a bit of a southern twang?

I love you sweet La-La.

Oh, I almost forgot...yes, Jay got the stomach flu and let's just say he, bitter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thank goodness

Well the good news about the stomach flu passing through our house is that it passed quickly. I am 90% better this morning. I actually got to enjoy a cup of coffee and a little breakfast. My appetite may take a few more days to return to normal but thank goodness food sounds good! The kids are all fine and Jay has yet to have gotten "the plague." We are keeping our fingers crossed that he stays healthy. I am so incredibly grateful that Jay was home during the madness. He really did a wonderful job tending to all of our needs and letting me rest while watching the kiddos. Poor guy had to go to work this morning at 4 am. I think a part of him is excited to stay at the work hotel, he'll get some undisturbed rest there and he deserves it.
So, this morning brings housework and homeschooling. It's back to our regular routine. I do have to get everyone of out the house at some point today...cabin fever is beginning to set in.
We do not need crazy children.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's Official

We are ill. Here's a little recap of last night:

My nausea started around 4 or so. By 6 pm it was official. I was vomiting and my stomach was in knots. At 7 pm I decided to take a bath to help settle my stomach. Sophie came in the bathroom to keep me company and before you know it, I look over and she is vomiting all over the bathroom. I start screaming for Jay to come and help me when I jump out of the tub to "get sick" once again and in the process accidentally drop my cell phone in the bath tub. Jay comes running in as I am now hovered over a bowl (did I tell you that I refuse to vomit in the's gross) and Sophie is crying and continuing to vomit. Alec then begins screaming from the living room that Miles has now vomited all over him. Jay was a bit "flustered" not knowing who to help first and which mess to deal with. The night continued this way for some time before everyone passed out around 11 pm. Sophie and I ended up sleeping in my bed and Jay chose the sofa because he refused to share sleeping space with the "sicko's." It was a VERY long night and we are incredibly exhausted. My bones ache and I still have the chills and a fever of 102. We are beginning the disinfecting process and opening every window/door in our home.
Go away stomach flu, go away...

Monday, October 20, 2008

A little blah

This evening I find myself feeling a bit "ill" once again. Last night I had a similar feeling and tried to blame it on my sister-in-law and her stomach flu family. I have loaded myself up with tons of probiotics and crazy hippie herbs. I pray that I'm not getting it. Today the nausea came in waves and my appetite was minimal (definitely not like me). I think that I may just go to bed early and see what tomorrow brings.

On a happier early birthday present arrived for me. I got a new leather sectional for our casa. Thank you mama!!! And so begins the birthday countdown.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Absolutely hysterical

Sophie is definitely my daughter. Today she called me into the living room to show me a photo that she and Alec took. "Mommy, come look. This is hilarious (sounding more like hi-larry-ous)...seriously hilarious!" Oh wow...she's like a little "mini me." Poor Jay.

I have to agree. They're pretty hilarious. Seriously. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Love my Bubba

Tonight as we were getting ready to head out the door for Youth Group, Bubba asked me if it was okay to invite his friend to join us. I of course said yes and he ran down the street to ask his friend. Fast forward 20 minutes later and I have two 12 year old boys in my car and on our way to Youth Group.
The drive was about 15 minutes and my little Bubba talked the entire time about his cool friends at church. He talked about praying that God would give him patience with his sister (Oh my gosh!!!) and about faith and trusting in God even though you can't see him. His friend asked a few questions and Alec answered as best he could (I chimed in when needed). As a mama... as Bubba's mama, I was so proud.
An hour and a half later they wrestled, ran, skipped, hopped and everything else a hyper 12 year old does, to the car. Alec's neighbor friend proudly showed me the new Bible that he had been given and told me that he had so much fun and is going again next week. Alec jumped in his seat behind me and whispered, "Mom, do you think that he might want to go to church with us on Sunday?"
Ahhh my little and your heart amaze me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oh my...

Look what happens when Sophie does Mommy's hair.

She was very disappointed when I explained that Mommy had to "adjust" the hair style before leaving for the day. After I "adjusted" (or rather removed) the disaster on my head she nicely informed me that I wasn't pretty. HA! That's life with a daughter!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Welcome Autumn

This is my favorite time of year. Fall leaves, crisp cool days, apple season and pumpkin pie. Everything about fall is cozy and welcoming. It even "smells" amazing. Giselle made an impromptu visit and the kids were incredibly excited to see her. We woke up this morning and took the munchkins to Oak Glen to look at the colors of the leaves, check out the apples and of course drown our bellies in apple pie (yum!) Here are the kids enjoying the pumpkins:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Peace of the World

"Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time for their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of peace of the world."

~ Mother Theresa

Lazy Saturday

What a nice break from the heat! Today has been wonderful as we are all still in our pajamas enjoying the rain and cool weather. It's football Saturday (in our house we watch college football) and Jay is exceptionally happy...Go Notre Dame!!! I love days like today.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

You bet I'm up!

Mary Green of Big Lots in Yucaipa, CA reported, "There were shampoo bottles flying at me from every direction. Guess we're putting them in the clearance bin."

Okay seriously, Jay made me use this pic. She could be Mary Green...who knows. Work with my creativity people. Thank you Google image search.

Yes, for all of you who know me...

It is 2:54 am and I am sitting awake in bed reading the earthquake report on the jolt that just caused me to jump out of bed and wake my sleeping daughter. Alec slept through it (as usual) and I assumed Miles was safe in his crib (makeshift steel cage?) Jay, are you home?

The horses were making scary noises.
Gizmo and Gidget, our faithful guard dogs (ha-ha actually fat, lazy weiner dogs) slept right through it.

Jay was just reminded that I'm crazy and has called me a midwesterner.

Texas anyone?

I do not heart earthquakes.

And yes...I know if was only a 4.1 but it WAS centered 6 miles NE of Yucaipa. Seriously people, seriously.

Tomorrow brings updating emergency Jay is praying that he gets called to work to avoid the insanity.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Uh oh, we're talking about homeschooling

So let me start by saying that I am sure this post will remain in my "saved" drafts for a few days. I have some pondering to do and want to be sure that I verbalize my thoughts accurately. So, here goes nothing.

"Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college."-Lillian Smith

My choice to home school my children began after years of struggling with public education officials; administrators, educators, even yard duty personnel. According to the state of California, I have a special needs child. He is completely deaf in one ear and 60% in the other. He is also legally blind in one eye and after all is said and done, he is my world. So you can understand my frustration when year after year I continued to see him struggle in reading, writing, etc. and was told to "accept" that he would never be at his grade level but that he would be "supported" throughout his school years. We continued at this slow pace for many years when I finally realized that our son would never feel a personal sense of accomplishment in the public school system. His class size had increased to 38 students and although he was getting individualized out of class assistance with reading and math, he would miss vital lessons during that time for that nights homework. The background noise in the classroom made listening to the teacher impossible. The glare on the white board from the overhead lights made reading the teacher's notes impossible. He was frustrated, discouraged and even called himself dumb. I was heartbroken. We had to make a drastic decision immediately. We spent that night praying hard and listening for God's will. We withdrew him from his class the following day.

I come from a family of educators so you can imagine that informing everyone of our decision was sure to create some doubt. We were met with questions and a little hesitance but very soon we began to receive support and encouragement. I began my quest to home school successfully using every resource I could find along the way. One of my closest friends who also home schools her children took me under her wing and guided me along. (I love you Heather!) We found several homeschooling groups in our community that schedule group field trips and park days. The internet has been the most beneficial resource as you can get tips and suggestions from people anywhere in the world. I have made several friends this way and they have been angels along this journey.

Fast forward one year and I stand here a homeschooling mommy. I believe that every child is a "special needs" child in that each child has a different learning style and personality. I embrace the fact that I can customize my children's school time to appeal to their learning style. Since making the choice to home school our eldest son, we decided to do the same with our younger children. We have become involved in a local home school group in which my children have created amazing friendships. Believe me, socialization is not an issue. I know who my children's friends are and I see the families behind the child. My children are free to discuss God in an open manner and I find it to be such a proud moment when my eldest child asks me to pray for his injured friend. Each school lesson also brings life lessons.

We have "school" days and "un-schooling" days. This basically means that some days we sit at the table and do written lesson work in books and other days we get out and explore the world as our school. For example, one day my children got to bottle feed baby calves, pick produce from an organic garden, finish several sheets of written schoolwork and help plan the dinner menu. I mix it up quite a bit as redundancy does not sit well with Alec. I make EVERYTHING a learning experience whether it be cooking a meal or renovating our home. We also read. We read a lot. I read to Alec, Alec reads to Sophie and Sophie (who is 3) reads to Miles (who is 1). I start each morning in prayer. I pray that God shows me what my children need to learn. I pray for A LOT of patience because we definitely have trying times. (Remember, I am working with a 12 year old :) Most importantly, I LOVE this adventure and I still believe this was the best decision for OUR family. Please know that I do not judge other people for choosing to send their children to public school, but I am very protective of the decision that we made for our individual family. Every family is different, with different circumstances and situations. But please remember that just as my family respects your life choices, please respect ours. You may not understand our choice to home school but you are welcome to come over any time and experience our Frates School. I make excellent coffee!