Monday, September 25, 2017

"It's the MOST wonderful time of the year!" (and Ford's Preschool)

Happy fall (a.k.a. the MOST wonderful time of the year -- after Christmas, of course)! Last Friday was officially the first day of this glorious season, but I've had my fall decorations out since September 1st, my fall-smelling candle burning since August, and we've already gone through two bags of candy corn (yikes).

Many places are still hot (ahem, ALL the places we've previously lived), but here in the central valley of California...IT ACTUALLY FEELS LIKE FALL! It warmed up a little this weekend, but last Thursday the high temperature was 68, and it was 54 degrees when we walked out the door for church yesterday (when church was over it was 70, but whatevs). People here tend to complain about the weather, but I like it. Because even when the temperature hovers at 100 degrees, IT'S NOT HUMID. And that, my friends, makes all the difference.

Anyway, in addition to indoor fall decorations, I bought my mums about three weeks ago, and they're still alive. They must be scared to die, because I give them the evil eye any time they start to wilt (and after giving them the evil I move them out of the sun).

Completely unrelated to fall (kind of), after Labor Day Ford started a preschool program at the Child Development Center on base. He goes Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., and they even feed him lunch before I pick him up. The CDC is less than a mile from our house, so we almost always walk/stroll/ride bikes to drop him off and pick him up. This schedule has helped a lot in establishing our new homeschool schedule (more about that later).

It might seem strange/counter intuitive to send one of my children to preschool after deciding to homeschool the older ones, but it works for us. Bonus that it's a super affordable program within walking distance of our house (thanks, government!).

Happy Monday!

Monday, September 11, 2017


(You can read my thoughts from 9/11/12 and 9/11/14 here.)

Someone posted this (kid-friendly, 5-8 year old-ish) video in one of my Facebook groups, and the girls and I watched it this morning. It's so important to teach our children about our nation's history (even recent history!). I personally think parents should guide the discussion with their children about 9/11, rather than leaving it just to school teachers (although schools should talk about it too!). People 30-ish and older remember that day with acute clarity; it's important to pass along the memories of how we wept as a nation, and witnessed such bravery in the aftermath.

Sydney, Lorelei, and I specifically discussed the bravery of the people on the planes, and of the firefighters, EMTs, policeman, doctors, regular people, etc. who worked so selflessly after the attacks. We talked about how scared the people on the planes, inside the Towers, and at the Pentagon (where their Daddy used to work!) must have been. We thanked God that no one we knew lost their life, and we prayed for the people in the world who feel like they have to do bad things.

Never forget, my friends.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

September, Finally

(Pretty much every year I mention how happy I am it's September, but I want to let my Aunt Shannon know that I think August is great because it's her birthday month! One of our nephew's as well. But besides those two days, August is brutal.)

Happy September, everyone! I've been absent, because in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, I've not been motivated to post on social media. I'm originally from the Houston area, my dad still lives there, and while he and his home were unscathed by the storm, I have SO MANY FRIENDS whose lives were affected. I know personally at least a dozen people whose homes were (badly) damaged, or destroyed altogether. THANKFULLY I can't name a single person who lost their life due to the storm (I know there were some -- heartbreaking). Through Facebook I've been keeping up with the damage control and clean-up process, and I can't help but feel guilty that I'm not also helping. People say the news coverage doesn't do the damage from the storm justice; that it's surreal to see a previously healthy, thriving neighborhood look like a war zone. AND THE SMELL. The smell is what my friends keep mentioning; I'm sure it's unimaginable.

Anyway, it's felt weird to post random pictures of my kids on Instagram or to write on this blog about how I get my kids to clean their rooms, while the majority of my friends are helping their parents tear out water-damaged sheetrock and put most of their earthly belongings on the curb for the trash company to collect. I'm ready to get back to it, but first I want to share how I've personally helped with Harvey's aftermath. It's not much, but every little bit helps:

Make a donation to the American Red Cross.

Make a donation to the Texas Diaper Bank.

Buy one of these shirts from Magnolia Market (100% of the proceeds go to Harvey relief if purchased by September 30th).

Now that I've written all that, I'm not sure how to finish... Okay, here's something for you: this year we decided to homeschool Sydney and Lorelei. Homeschooling has been on my mind for years now (although before I had children I said I would NEVER homeschool them), but this school year is the right time for us to give it a go. We're doing a program called Classical Conversations, which provides the curriculum (minus reading/spelling and math -- we choose our own curriculums for those subjects), and we meet with a community group each Tuesday morning. Yesterday was our 3rd week meeting with our community group, and I'm thankful to say we're happy with our schooling decision this year. More to come on this subject!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

When you only have 5 minutes... share a picture from the Grand Canyon.

We visited the Grand Canyon during our drive from Texas to California. Chet had visited growing up, but I had never been. It's monsoon season in that part of the country -- news to me -- so it was raining when we first arrived. It stopped about halfway through our visit (we only stayed about an hour and a half), and the view cleared considerably.

Perhaps the kids would have been more impressed if it hadn't been raining, but likely not. They were about as impressed with the Grand Canyon as they were the solar eclipse this week -- if asked, "Isn't it amazing?!" They would answer "Yes." Soon followed by, "Can I have a snack?"

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Bedtime Snack

We usually eat dinner at 5:30 p.m. Sometimes as early as 5 p.m., a lot of times 6 p.m., but almost never as late as 6:30 p.m.

If we eat on the early side, or if certain small people in the house weren't a fan of what was served for dinner, the kids are usually hungry at bedtime. So they can have a banana, an applesauce pouch, or sometimes a Nutragrain bar (if I'm feeling generous) before going to sleep.

Last night Chet was in a hurry to put the kids to bed, because he was headed to the Navy Exchange (before it closed at 9 p.m.) to buy a charcoal grill that we had a coupon for.

***Side note: We left our gas grill in Austin because it was in pretty bad shape, and when Chet shared that he wanted a charcoal grill this time, I balked. Because in my head I'm ready and willing to  finally learn how to turn on a gas grill and subsequently use it, but in the real world that's probably not going to happen. I'll never learn how to cook on a difficult-to-use charcoal grill. But, as they say, never say never...***

Anyway, we put the kids (minus Ruthie) to bed a few minutes early, and Ford is at the age where he thinks it's okay to get out of bed several times for random reasons. Chet had already left, and Ruthie and I were in the kitchen, when Ford started "visiting" us. I can't remember why he got out of bed the first couple of times, but the third time he said, "I forgot to eat a banana." So he and Ruthie shared a banana (Ruthie prefers to hold her own bananas, but doesn't mind if her sisters or brother feed her one...she HATES when Chet or I try to feed her a banana).

Apparently Ruthie was extremely thankful for part of her brother's banana, because she tried to kiss Ford on the lips. But he wrenched his head away and said, "Ew! She has a dirty mouth!" But he said it with a fond smile on his face, so I'm certain he loves her despite her "dirty mouth."

Hopefully the kids eat plenty of dinner tonight, because I'm afraid the bananas are currently too green to eat.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Barstool Wars

Our new house has a bar in the kitchen that separates (connects?) the kitchen from the dining room. We had one like it in our Mayport, FL base house, and I really liked it. But now I LOVE it, because during the day (breakfast, lunch, snacks) the kids can sit at the bar and I can just throw food at them from the kitchen rather than bringing it over to the dining table and serving them like English royalty.

Here's a picture of the bar (while standing in the dining area) on the day the movers unloaded everything:

Here are the adorable barstools I bought from Wayfair on sale AND with a coupon:
I showed them to kids online before buying them, and everyone decided Sydney would have blue (her favorite color), Lorelei green, Ford red (because he likes Marshall from Paw Patrol), and Ruthie yellow (in about two years). 

But then...over the summer the kids started watching a show called PJ Masks, and since Ford insisted on identifying with Catboy (yes, Catboy) from the show, he no longer wanted the red stool, he wanted the BLUE stool. Because Catboy is blue and Owlette (the girl character on the show) is red, so obviously it was impossible for him to sit on a girly red stool. I can't believe I just explained all that, because it's just plain ridiculous.

We tried to come up with a fair system for Sydney and Ford to take turns using the blue stool, but I spent way too much time enforcing that system, and the blue stool became a stumbling block for my first and third child. So we waved bye-bye to the adorable primary-colored stools and welcomed white stools (only 3, because Ruthie may never use one while we live here):
Ruthie doesn't usually dine in her highchair in the midst of the barstools, but this day she did. And I wanted to capture the post-lunch mess all over the floor. I'm always on my hands and knees picking up the food that can't be picked up with a dust buster. Tell me I'm not alone.

In addition to arguing over the barstools, they also started (continued?) arguing over plate and bowl types/colors. I was on a rampage by this point, so this is what the kids use now:
It's this set from Target, plus I bought four more of the (smaller) salad plates, because that's what they use the most. 

You might be thinking, "Just teach your kids not to argue!" I mostly agree. My older girls especially know better (it doesn't mean they always comply, but they know). But the barstools were causing huge issues, and it really drove the point home when I got rid of them and replaced them with boring (to my kids) white. The plates just happened to follow on the heels of the barstools, plus I've been looking for an excuse to get rid of all of our mismatched plastic plates for years. (The tupperware is drives Chet and me crazy! What is the solution?!)

One last tidbit about the house. This is a picture of our living room in Austin:
See that blueish table? Chet built it when we were living in Alexandria, I had him spray paint it the blueish color in Austin, and as of yesterday it looks like this:
It's hard to see in the picture, but the legs are this shiny copper color. The top is covered with this marble contact paper. Isn't Chet the best? He can't wait to carry out the plans I have for our bedroom furniture...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

*tap, tap* "Is thing thing on?"

I was trying to remember when I last posted, and was sure it was some time in late June. Since the actual date was Memorial Day, that misremembered late-June blog post must be one of the many that only exist in my head.

Here's the problem with life: you can always make an excuse for not doing what you feel led to do. Most of us have hundreds of legitimate excuses. Here are some of mine: Sydney, Lorelei, Ford, Ruthie, the laundry they create, the dishes they dirty, the books they need read to them, the books I  need read to me (well, sort of -- I read my own books, but it takes time and brainpower to do that). Those are just a few of my own excuses. And can I also just say that it takes A LOT of time time to prepare, serve, and clean up after children who eat 3+ meals a day? Sigh.

Anyway, the time is now to do what I feel led to do. If I wasn't supposed to write anything on this blog, doing so wouldn't even occur to me. But it does. (And obviously my writing is rusty, so bear with me as these muscles wake back up.)

By the way, we have completed our move to central California. We left Didi's house in Texas mid-July and arrived at our new home a week later. I might post some pictures if I can get over the fear of plugging my phone into my computer (why does technology have to be so obscure?!).

It's hot here, just like everywhere in August. We've been surviving inside, and Sydney has taken up putting future outfits together for herself:

Hang on, she says they're Halloween costumes. I should offer her services to Pottery Barn Kids.

Happy Thursday, y'all!