Our Family

Our Family

Friday, December 17, 2010

Security Blankets



Andrew never got attached to anything, but Elizabeth has serious attachments to her blanket. If it's in the wash, she cries and cries. We've left it in Atlanta, and my family had to bring it back to us. I believe that is when the attachment started (which was only like 4 or 5 months ago).

Since then, we've left it at a friends house (who lovingly washed it for me so it would at least be clean upon return). That night Elizabeth woke up screaming for her Blankie. She got little sleep. Funny part is that we have a jacket that matches the blanket nearly exactly, and even that would NOT do.

Yesterday we left it in the car just to go into a swimming lesson. When she got back into the car she picked it up and squeezing & hugged it exclaiming, "I missed you so much, Blankie. Were you scared? Mommy, Blankie was scared." What a riot! You can see a little into her comical personality with her comment. She is "scared" of nearly everything herself so she would project that onto her Blankie :)

She is currently sitting beside me watching Veggie Tales holding the blanket and rubbing her fingers along the seam...which is what she loves to do best. It's already starting to look a little dingy. Maybe I should try to find another one, but I'm pretty sure it's long gone. I got it on sale at Target for $1. I was going to add it to a baby gift for a friend. I was on my way to deliver the gift when Elizabeth saw the blanket and wanted. I though...well, it was only $, and I took it out of the gift. It's now her most loved earthly possession...almost a little idolic. Maybe I should have left it in the gift.

As an aside, Andrew LOVES to harass his sister by "stealing" her blanket. In fact, that reminds me that the other day when we were at the Steven's house, she ran up to my friend Jenny saying, "Ms. Jenny, someone stole my blankie." We all got a good laugh out of that! And then there was the other night. We went to a small group Christmas dinner, and the oldest Steven's girl watched the kids. We forgot her blanket, and she woke up screaming for it. The babysitter even tried giving her a ton of other stuffed animals AND her jacket that is identical to the blanket. Then she called in panic mode...I NEED that blanket. I hear that right after that call, Lizzy got so tired that she went to her crib at their house and asked to go night night. Super funny!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Printer

Today my printer and I are gonna rumble. It's been going downhill for a few weeks now, and I should have seen it coming. Mat's been diligently working on it to help the print feature work out easier, but he hasn't had the time to get it all fixed. So today, I go to print all these things for school, and low and behold not even the first thing printed. I feel like that scene from Office Space where they go out in the field and completely demolish their printer...or is it the copy machine. I tried to go on hulu to find the clip of that scene, and they don't have one?! What's up with that...the BEST part of the movie.

I'm pretty sure that my computer problems including not finding that clip on hulu all stem from the fact that I am pretty much 99% technology illiterate. And I just take out my frustrations on the machines that don't do what I need them to do...sad, I know.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Little Missy












I wish you all could see Elizabeth today. She is wearing pink striped pants, a pink snow bunny shirt, and a fleece with hearts all over it but the part I'm talking about is how she has 6 necklaces around her neck, and she is carrying her pink polka dotted blanket around with her everywhere. Her independence is coming out today in all the wrong ways, but she is just trying so hard to be grown up. She is ALL girl, and I love that she loves pink. She is like me in so many ways, but unlike me, she is a girly-girl. Her best friend in Florida is a 9 year old girl named Emily. Emily & Elizabeth love to "dress up." They go through several outfits a day...and it's adorable. I don't mind washing all those clothes b/c I know that Lizzy is growing up way too fast. One day, I won't have all those close to wash or all the dolls to put away.

I don't have a picture of her today, but here are some pics of my Little Missy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A New December




It is hard to imagine that we have been living in Florida for 7 months now. I am so used to traveling for months at a time that this move has almost just seemed like another one of our road trips. It's now really settling in that we LIVE here.

The weather is perfect. We've been having 80 degree days since September, and finally Dec. 1 hit along with the first cold snap of the season. It's COLD out there, and we had a hard time finding our coats yesterday when we took an impromptu trip to Downtown Disney. I finally just grabbed costumes for the kids, and I found a sweater for myself.

There is so much to do around here, and it's hard to remember that I don't have to fit everything into each season b/c I will be here next year at this time to get to enjoy what I missed out on this year. Disney does holidays just like they do anything...very well! Christmas is no different. They have giant gingerbread houses all over the place with hidden Mickey's in them. You can stand in front of the gingerbread forever just searching for hidden Mickeys...and we have done that. I want to check all of them out this season, but I don't know if there will be time to get to them all.

I am a planner to my core. I love planning small things, big things, parties, craft days, and especially birthdays! Right now I'm in the midst of planning Andrew's "family" birthday celebration. We always do a friend party for his 1/2 birthday since his birthday is during likely the busiest season of the year, but we like to make his real birthday just as special. This year, I have outdone myself...almost all free! I'm so excited, and I can't wait to share the surprise!

I'm also very excited b/c my bib sis called me yesterday to discuss Christmas plans. She wants to come HERE for Christmas! We flew to her new home in Albany, NY to spend the holidays with her family last year, and we had SO much fun together. I hope we can be as good of hosts as they were for us! Just being together will be wonderful!

I love this time of year. I said Fall was my favorite season...and I guess it still is Fall :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Things I Love

I love:

Lots of pillows
Curling myself into a ball to watch TV with my husband
Being frugal
My precious husband
The way Andrew pooches his lips out in "smooch style" when he concentrates
Spending time with my husband and children
Sharing fun times with friends
Going to Disney World
Rare snuggles with my children
Getting a sweet message from a friend
Fall
Smores
Chocolate Cake
Traveling and the excitement and planning that goes into a big trip
Seafood
Wearing flip flops
The feeling after a good exercise
Playing board games or cards
Corn Mazes
Bejeweled Blitz
The idea (and hopefully soon the reality) of going on a cruise
My kids curls
My son's way of making people happy
The way Lizzy waits on whoever is last
Pizza and mostly anything fried :(
Homeschooling my children
Being a mom (most days)
The smell of a pumpkin spice or cinnamon candle
Lending a hand to a friend

I'm sure the list goes on and on, but these are my favorites for right now :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

100th post!

Whewee! We had a whirlwind weekend here in Orlando, and I have to say that it made me feel like a kid again. I loved it!

Mat took off work Friday, and we had plans to spend the entire day at Magic Kingdom with some amazing friends. We even woke up really early (6:45am to be exact - didn't know that time existed) to "open" the park, but we ended up being about 10 minutes late for just about everything the whole day...which is just fine really. We took our way leisurely through the park, and all of us enjoyed spending time together. I don't even recall any arguments throughout the entire day! It really is magical there!

Friday night we went over to decorate the new set for the children's ministry, and we stayed at the church until nearly 2am creating a "robot lab." It turned out amazing...will post pics when I can figure out how to download pics to the computer after doing a little tweaking to our old picture system. We had to go back the following day to finish details and clean up, but we did a fantastic job at ZERO expense!

The rest of the weekend was spent with amazing new friends. A favorite part of mine was that instead of fixing dinner for small group, we all brought appetizers and munched the whole night on some delicious food. I love eating, and I love appetizers! I even attempted (with much success) making my first ever pumpkin pie after Andrew and I found a recipe in a Halloween book that we read.

This week I need to catch up on some serious sleep!...but it was all worth it!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Older Than Methuselah

I love October...ALL things about it. It's the time of year when the leaves start changing and swirling around in the air. The weather turns a bit cooler. There are Fall Festivals and pumpkin patches with the occasional corn maze. Scare crows, hay bales, and other fall decorations come out of hiding to make beautiful decorations. There is even a crisp, fresh smell about October that I love. Living in Florida has only increased my love of the fall. The weather is a perfect 75 degrees with a gorgeous breeze, and you don't even need a jacket by the evening. Though I have to admit that my first tinge of homesickness has come as I see pictures and have dreams about going to Uncle Shuck's fabulous (though pricey) corn maze. I also miss the Stone Mountain activities more than I ever though I would - people here don't even know what Stone Mountain is!!!

October is also the month of my birthday, and that is where the title of this comes into play. Andrew and I have been studying the book of Genesis together, and I've so cherished that time of reading from the REAL Bible together. I had to chuckle when we read through the lineage of Noah though. I had forgotten that Noah's ancestors lived to be anywhere from 365 to 969 years old.

I enjoy celebrating my birthday, and I'm not embarrassed about my age. However, I am certainly starting to FEEL my age as I turn 33. I've had to go through things in just this one year alone that have made me feel old. I started getting mammograms, my gums are deteriorating so I have to go see the dentist about getting that fixed, there is a bad nerve somewhere that's cause my foot to be numb/tingly, and I drink more coffee than I did a year ago (probably just trying to muster the energy to get through the day).

I've thought, as I approach my 33 birthday, that Jesus was 33 when he died. What a life he lived in those 33 years! I'm grateful that I have a little bit longer to leave the right impression in this world - well at least I hope! But, I'm certainly glad that I won't live as long as Methuselah. He was 969 when he died, and he was 187 by the time he had his first son! I can't even begin to imagine the aches and pains that he experienced if I already feel like this at 33. I should be thankful that those first few generations were so evil that God shortened our life span to 120 years old...and then I'm sure our humanity continually decreased those years.

I know I've gone on a strange tangent, but have you ever thought of that?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sibling Fights

This morning was not unlike any other. Lizzy and Andrew fought. Don't get me wrong. they are completely in love, but they argue, fight, holler, squeal, squabble, and do all the other things siblings do.

This morning, they fought over who would get to carry Lizzy's diaper bag (that looks like a really cool purple zebra given to us by a special friend) to church. Andrew offered to carry it, and Lizzy screamed, "NO, I carry back pack ZZ's." ZZ is her name for herself.

I ended up carrying the bag, and I walked out to the car holding it. Andrew raced to the car. Lizzy was last to the car as always as she makes sure everyone else gets to where they need to be safely (she's very concerned about mothering already). As she walked to the car, she said, "I know Jesus. Andrew, you carry ZZ's back pack." Stunned, I put her in her car seat, handed her the bag, and she said it to Andrew again, "I know Jesus. Andrew, you carry back pack." Andrew was floored, noted the conversation, and excitedly shared the bag. They handed it back and forth "sharing like Jesus" as they so eloquently put it.

Proud mothering moment! Priceless!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sweet Sibling Love

Andrew is a part of a private school which meets only once a week. I'm in a carpool so I don't have to drive but once every 4 weeks. Today was my 3rd time driving, and poor little sweet, Lizzy was just pathetic. As we left the parking lot, she was just balling and crying out for her brother. She's napping now, but she has said repetitively since leaving the school, "want Andrew."

A couple weeks ago, one of the other carpool drivers told me that Andrew said he couldn't wait to go home and see his baby sister. She was surprised by his sweet spirit...though that doesn't surprise me at all.

At least the love is reciprocated. My children love each other, and I hope they do forever! It makes me proud to be their mother...and maybe a wee bit jealous that they cry out for one another but never need their mom. Maybe I should go on a long trip...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Healthy Food

Mat and I have gone through a food transformation. We don't eat out often, and we are into healthy stuff. However, while on vacation, we hopped over to Mat's choice of restaurant...a burger joint with burgers so big you can't open your mouth wide enough to bite into them.

When we got there, Andrew panicked. He was very upset that we were eating unhealthy food. I don't think I can possibly find words to describe the panic he had when we placed our orders and heard that we were ordering a quadruple bypass burger. He seriously thought we were going to have heart attacks and die b/c of our unhealthy food choice. Nor can I describe the sheer terror he experienced when his burger came loaded with cheese and no veggies in site. In fact, he immediately asked the waitress for lettuce and tomatoes for his burger. He also told me that he was going to have yogurt when he got back to the hotel b/c yogurt has probiotics and is extra healthy. He also dumped out his Sprite and got healthy water instead.

I gotta say it was funny, but I'm proud that when faced with a food choice, I think he might actually choose something healthy instead of just satisfying his taste buds. That's way more I can say for myself. I'm impressed that he's already thinking about taking care of his body!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Treasure Island

We are enjoying a few days at the beach. I wanted to jot down a few of the highlights of the day to remember for later:

1. We dug a giant hole in the sand at the beach a few feet away from the ocean. It later filled in with water (after we dug a giant trench for the water to flow into the pool from the ocean). Then we sat back and relaxed in the "hot tub." It rocked!

2. This is a great beach for collecting shells. We've found a huge collection already after 2 days. The problem with that is OUCH those shells can really hurt the bottoms of your feet! It's not bad in the sand...but it's painful to get in the ocean as shells hit you hard.

3. Lizzy LOVES being IN the ocean. She and Mat have enjoyed hours of jumping waves while Andrew and I have dug holes and written in the sand. How fun that we each have a child to enjoy what we enjoy!

4. Lizzy and I were watching the waves. I said, "Lizzy look at those giant waves." Her reaction was to just stand there waving back at the waves. She was so adorable!

5. Andrew wrote AMGEH in the sand. I thought that was very clever. We ended up naming our "hot tub" Fort GAME.

6. We enjoyed a sunset cruise last night. It was nearly 2 hours long. There was free beer...too bad we don't drink beer.

I'll post pics later. I left the cable at home to download the pics. Such a wonderful great relaxing week!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Field Trips and Judgement Day



One of the goals I've had as a first year home school mom to a kindergartner is to instill a passion for learning in my son. I can't make him love school, but I can make school as much fun as possible. I can encourage him daily. I can guide him through the process. I can also create fun activities that are school related, and finally, we can go on lots of fun learning field trips with other home school friends.

Today, we took the opportunity to go on a field trip with some other friends from Andrew's home school school to the Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney. There we were taking on a very in depth tour of the rain forest, and we learned SO much that I never would have thought about. We learned about different animals found in the rain forest, the layers and reasons for the layers of the tropical rain forest, where the rain forest is located, we learned all about salt water tanks including how to care for a salt water tank, we got to meet 4 parrots, and the best part was that my child along with about 10 other children got to ask every question that they could think of about animals or anything having to do with the rain forest. I learned that I have a very inquisitive son who was very interested in learning all he could on the field trip even without my prompting. We also got a meal out of it as we ate bugs and such...well, not really bugs.

Also, Andrew has been learning how to count money. He's had a savings going for a while now, and he got a coupon for $5 off a Lego set. Since we were already at D-town Disney close to the Lego store, we decided to take his savings with us and detour after the field trip to buy the hard earned Lego set Andrew has been wanting.

While we were there, a Lego store worker asked Andrew why he wasn't in school. He tried to tell her that he had a field trip at Rainforest Cafe, but she wouldn't believe him. She then asked me "so they just let him wander around D-town Disney after the field trip." I explained that he was telling the truth, and she didn't believe me at all. In fact, she was extra inquisitive, and I just kept saying that the field trip just ended so he was using his savings to get something he worked hard for. It was after 1pm by this time, and children of all ages were pretty much all over the store (at least 20 other school aged children). I NEVER said I was a home school mom, but this lady was intensely judgmental that I had Andrew at the Lego store during a school day.

It got me all frazzled, but I had a precious friend with me there that kept telling me to shrug it off. She encouraged me that Andrew was clearly intelligent, and I was doing well with him at home which was clear to everyone but the clerk at the Lego store. I gotta say...makes me think twice about taking him out during the day anywhere...and I'm totally getting insurance! People are really freaky about homeschooling!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rejoice


This is the day that the Lord has made
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

That's how I feel as I start this beautiful Tuesday. I woke up early to start my day. I'm already drinking my coffee. I have several things to look forward to today and this week:

1. Andrew had a fantastic school day yesterday. Again, I'm amazed at how well "school" is going. That strong willed boy is turning into a brilliant young man. A common compliment you would hear at my house (yep, even from or directed at the baby) is, "you're a genius." I'm very thankful for my group of home school friends who encourage me daily.

2. Today is a busy day. I am dying to go to Target, but we'll see if that happens. I have a limited time to be out and about before nap time, and things just seems far away around here. Target is our closest store so it is much more attainable. I sadly never get to JC Penney's or Kohl's anymore - too far away!

3. I don't have to fix dinner again until Thursday. We are still munching on our favorite leftovers from the weekend, and tomorrow is church dinner night - and friend chicken at that - yum!

4. One of my bestest friends in the whole world is coming to visit me tomorrow!!!

5. We are going on a school field trip to Rainforest Cafe at Disney to learn about the tropical rain forest and have a family style buffet!

6. Andrew has his first flag football game on Saturday!

7. I am going to another one of my bestest friends homes tonight!

8. Mat has a conference he has to attend at the beach so we are all heading to Treasure Island for a relaxing vaca...and friends are coming too!

Life is so good... and not because of all the awesome things we get to DO but because of who God is. God is so amazing! I am daily thankful that Christ is a part of my daily life. I couldn't get through a day without HIS amazing peace, guidance and comfort.

Again, this is the day that the Lord has made
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ups & Downs

This weeks has been a roller coaster ride...one that I'm not sure if I wanna stay on or jump off of.

Monday started off ROUGH. Andrew was a complete pill. Lizzy was her normal daredevil self, & I was a mess. By the end of the day, Mat called a babysitter and took me to Disney. He said I needed a little magic in my life...and boy did I! We had a blast for about 2 hours.

Some people have mentioned that they are envious of our life or have said we have the life. In response to those comments, I have this to say...Our life is not one to be envious of. It's simply our life. We have bad days - yep, even living right outside the Disney gates. We may have the privilege of going to Disney anytime we want, but our life is still real. We have hearts that get hurt. We have problems, and we also have a lot of joy. And when you have full access to Disney, real life happens both inside and outside of the park. Also, when we make a status update of FB, it's not intended to make others envious. We truthfully spend a TON of time on Disney property. It's only 5 minutes away, Mat works there, it's FREE entertainment (which is a huge deal since we have 2 house payments etc monthly), and it's the central location for all our friends to hang out since most our peeps are Disney people.

With that being said, I'll just go ahead and tell you that the magic of Disney must have made our week better b/c Andrew was an angel the rest of the week. He is now NEARLY fluently reading, counting money, and adding and subtracting small numbers from memory. Or maybe it's just a bit of renewed perspective after spending a night with an awesome husband who CARES about me and encourages me in the ways of the Lord.

It's been a blessing to watch Andrew grow through our home school experience. I am so excited that God has called me to home school, and I feel tremendously lucky to get to see the light bulb go off as both of my children learn and experience new things...like last night when we saw a show on the Boardwalk where a man swallowed a 2 foot long sword (yes, it was a real sword).

Things we have to look forward to this coming week:
1. Tomorrow is Animal Kingdom day with a bunch of friends. I have been wanting to go there for months!
2. A precious friend is coming to visit next week. She is one of those one of a kind kind of people that you find few and far between, and she is gonna be all mine for a few days!!!
3. We are going to do our first school field trip at the Rainforest Cafe of all places.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

All About Lizzy






Isn't that true...a baby turns two and the temper comes a flaring. Well, she perfected the art of the true temper tantrum long before her actual birthday. However, she's still sweet and wonderful, and I couldn't imagine life without without waking up to her beautiful smile.

A little about Lizzy and the past couple weeks we spent in celebration of her:

1. She is a momma's girl through and through. She sometimes needs me just to hug her.

2. She loves the color pink, all things princess, Minnie Mouse, make-up, changing clothes, socializing, swimming, bothering or copying her brother/super hero, crazy expressions, and her daddy.

3. She's not a fan of sweets - just like her momma. Now she will eat them, but she doesn't choose them or eat the whole thing.

4. My family came down to celebrate her 2nd birthday. We lavished her with lots of gifts, and we took her to chef Mickey's for her party. She loved Minnie, but she was completely terrified of all the other characters. Guess it didn't help that the first costume character she met was that giant blue monster in Monsters Inc.

5. She's a daredevil. She often tries to kill herself by doing very dangerous things with a giggle.

6. She loves to play with the big girls, and she is often found in the center of a crowd of elementary, middle or even high school girls.

7. She loves to make people smile.

8. She speaks clearly and enunciates each word very clearly. I can understand her, but the rest of the world can too!

9. She says "mmm" before she says anything else. Ex...Lizzy do you want to go swimming? mmmm yes. So adorable. I think that has something to do with her wanting to say things so clearly. It gives her time to think.

10. A precious family here in Florida invited us over to their house. When we got there, they told us they invited us with an agneda. The agenda was to celebrate Lizzy's birthday. They bought her a special birthday plate, had her own birthday cake made, and gave her a new outfit. Their child dressed Lizzy in the outfit, and Lizzy hasn't wanted me to take it off of her so she's worn it 3 days straight.

I've posted pics of my adorable baby girl. She's a doll, and we are enjoying watching her grow...but please could we freeze her just like she is now!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Tummy Hurts

My children eat all the time. Andrew is a bottomless pit, and he has been known to eat until he was "sick." He runs around all the time and manages to stay skinny, but he can put down some food. He always says "my tummy hurts" b/c he really eats until he's sick.

So Lizzy caught on. Today she at a ton of food for lunch. And when she was done, she said "my tummy hurts." Mat asked her to point to her tummy, and she quickly pointed to her left elbow. She then told us that it was so full it hurt. Poor thing. She's a little confused :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friendship





I place high value on friendship. Some friends have come and gone, and some have stuck around forever. I have a few friends I still keep in touch with that I've known my entire life. I guess that's what happens when you grow up going to the same church and private school for forever.

I've got friends that I've met since I've gone to college that I don't get to talk to much, but I love them none the less. And then I've got the besties, the people that just get me, and they love me in spite of my many flaws. I'm super excited that one of those friends is coming to see me in a couple of weeks. I love that girl, and while we don't talk often, we just go right back to the deep stuff like we never skipped a beat even when years have gone by.

Since moving to Florida, Mat and I have been so blessed to find several new friends that just get us on that deep level. They are the kind of people who run across a bread store and call to see what kind of bread they can pick up for me. They are the kind of people who come pick up my children to take them to various events so I don't have to. They are the kind of people who love me when I'm "boring" or "weird" or "crazy." They also tell me when I'm doing something wrong, and encourage me to be better than I want to be.

Friendships give me warm fuzzies. They sometimes require a lot of work too, but it's not the bad kind of work. It's the kind of work that's worth it b/c you really truly and genuinely want to keep the relationship. I wish I had pics to post of some of our new friends. This makes me realize that I need to take my camera with me more often!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Last Night

I'm going to tell you a story about last night. I'm sure many of you can relate.

Mat worked from home yesterday, and by worked from home, I mean...he didn't talk to us at all except maybe a few words during his 3 minute lunch break. He was hard at work every second until 5:40 when I made him leave his desk and hang out with us. It wasn't helpful to him b/c he ended up staying up most of the night in order to finish working on something. This was typical of the week as there have been other sleepless nights for this work thingy too. And don't hear me complaining about his work...I'm just drawing the picture for you.

Andrew & Lizzy took a long nap yesterday, and they woke up super late. You parents know that means they didn't go to bed until late either. Finally, I got both kids down and ASLEEP.

Mat finally finished his work at like 3am (I really don't know), but I do know that about 1 hour after Mat got in bed, Andrew was tugging on me saying that a whale was chasing him in his sleep, and he fell out of bed. I told him he could sleep in the room beside mine (his room is far away from my room). He got into bed and proceeded to cough the rest of the night.

Then Lizzy started to cry. And Mat started itching so he was up. I just turned off the monitor. I couldn't sleep at all with the baby crying, Andrew coughing, or Mat scratching. Andrew woke up at 6am sharp. He couldn't have slept more than 6 hours if that. Then Mat was up at 6:15, and I couldn't go back to sleep.

I'm grouchy when I'm tired. Fortunately, this doesn't happen too often at our house (excluding this week). I'm looking forward to being able to sleep in this weekend...keeping my fingers crossed!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

August Update





This month is flying by so quickly. Mat says he discounted this month on the first day of August simply b/c we have most days all planned out and jammed full of activities - some fun some not so fun. I thought I recount all the things I can remember that have gone down thus far...

1. We successfully completed 15 days of homeschool. It is going VERY well, but I have succumbed to doing most of my one on one teaching during Lizzy's nap time. My high maintenance little girl proves to be a big distraction to both her mommy and big brother. However, the change was due mostly for the sake of my house. She gets into everything! She's gleaning from our lessons though. She can now count to 10 with little guidance, and she can say the ABCD's (her name for them) and the sounds they make with a little more guidance. Andrew is amazingly patient with her. He's learning so much. I've nearly completely changed my philosophy on education. If you wanna know more about that, I'll happily share what that means, but I don't want to bore the world with my very strong opinions.

2. Andrew had his first full day of school at Circle Christian where he will continue to go each Friday. We have a carpool full of precious children.

3. We have made several BFF's here! It is so clear that we are exactly where God wants us to be. We even shared a double date at Epcot while our children (all 6 of them) had a slumber party with a babysitter back at the house. Rumor has it the kids were angels, and us big kids had a great time without time constraints or distractions. In fact, after Epcot closed at 9, we ended up hanging out at a resort for a few hours (while enjoying free drinks from our refillable Mickey mugs).

4. We not only decided to call First Baptist Windermere Lakeside our church home, we jumped full force into serving in the children's ministry. Mat is also helping, and we are so excited to see God at work in this church, in the lives of our children, and in us!

5. Andrew & Lizzy continue to take swimming lessons. Both of them are doing great, and we are excited to have a "pool day" all day today. With this heat, it's the only way to hang outside - period. Our Epcot days have really been evenings as the sun sets and the world cools off although we're getting use to being wet and stinky.

6. A wonderful friend came to visit from Atlanta, and we hung out at Epcot. In fact, most of the ESPN and fam gang was there, and again, we hung out after the park closed for a few hours - with all our kids. The kids were super hyper and delirious. It was SO MUCH FUN! The ESPN crew is kinda turning into family. We hang out now every weekend - at Yellow Dog, at our house, at a resort.

I am leaving out so much, but that's mostly what's been going on in our world. I love our new home!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Andrew's Ankle and Cold

Yesterday Andrew hurt his ankle at church. I noticed him limping all day yesterday, and this morning he was no only limping but crying out in pain. I scheduled an appointment at the doc to make sure it wasn't broken.

On the way there, Andrew said, "Mom, I'm going to tell the doctor that I have a cold and snot is sneaking into the back of my mouth." Awesome. And I wish you could have been there for his description to the doctor as he not only said that, but he went into much more detail (so seriously too).

His ankle is sprained, and likely bothering him a bit more b/c his body is working a little overtime fighting off the end of this stinky cold. Ice & low impact activities were the doctors orders...difficult task for the momma of a high energy 5 year old.

Now...to finally start school for the day!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Messed Up

Yesterday was a wonderful day all-be-it BUSY!

We...

1. went to swimming lessons for both kids
2. went to they YMCA where Andrew has "gym" class & I ran a 5K for exercise
3. went grocery shopping - ya gotta eat and we R OUT of food around here
4. ate lunch & finally showered & bathed the both kids (isn't it a terrible feeling when you go out dirty)
5. got down to school business while Lizzy napped - yay for no baby distractions
6. kids exercised to P90X with Mat while I made dinner
7. left to go to a homeschool meeting on the other side of town - It was super boring and long and I was already running on E.
8. got home late and crashed with a bowl of ice cream and a TV program

While Mat was taking the babysitter home (a precious girl from our church in a super fun family), I went to look at my sleeping babies. Andrew was curled up in his new Star Wars the Clone Wars bedsheets looking adorable, innocent, and beautiful. I couldn't resist giving him a thousand kisses - something he doesn't enjoy much now that he's getting older. Lizzy was face down struggling to breathe b/c she is teething bad and has a runny nose - her first cold possibly since moving to Florida passed down lovingly from her big brother. I got her up and gave her some meds.

I went back into Andrew's room and relived an incident that happened throughout the day. I shouldn't even share it b/c it will show my ugly heart, but here goes...

We were doing school, and Andrew was doing GREAT! He was learning how to put words together in this little game I made. I put consonants on a card, and I made another stack of cards with ending sounds like at, am, an, ad, ap. He would then match a consonant to the ending sound and read the word. He was doing SO well, that he wanted to read a million words. He was proud of his accomplishment, but he got so tired at the end (after reading like 100 words all by himself) so his mind wandered. I guess I fussed at him b/c the next thing he said was, "Mommy, I really don't like it when you yell at me." Ugh! I got impatient, and instead of putting the game away, I pushed him too hard eventually and clearly doing what he considered yelling. And then to add to the stupidity, I gave him a hug and called a truce instead of saying sorry. What an idiot am I? Seriously, it was an amazing learning experience for him and an opportunity for me to correct my exasperation and I called a "truce?"

First thing this morning, I apologized to him. I explained how he lovingly told me how my yelling made him feel, and I said that instead of calling a truce I should have said I'm sorry.

I love that little boy with all my heart. I need to remember that pure innocent beautiful face that I saw last night when I get angry. I need to remember that I want to be pure innocent and beautiful in God's eyes. That's how he made me to be, and I want my children to see God's love through me. Huge learning experience, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday - the 6th day of school

Before I start rambling, you need to know 2 things. Homeschool is going awesome! I couldn't have expected it to be better. And, I have no pics for this blog post.

With that said, I'm facing new challenges today.

1. Mat's schedule is different than your normal 8-5 M-F. You think - yeah, then it's great that you homeschool. I have the ability to be flexible, but this morning represents the challenge this give ME personally. Mat had to go in late b/c he's dealing with clients on the west coast with a 3 hour time difference. So instead of starting our school at 9am as I have been doing, I decided that it was most important for the kids to have "Daddy time" while they could. Inside my head I was fighting the change in routine, and I was snappy to my whole family or at times just quiet. I wasn't mad. I was just having an internal battle. I got over it, but I'm sure I'll always find that as THINGS come up to change our day that I'll still cringe inside.

2. Andrew is a super bright kid. He's well above average, and I'm not just saying it because he's my son. He is smart. I have to think of ways to cover the basics and enrich his mind at the same time. So I've decided to stick to the book lessons (sometimes covering 2 lessons at a time), and then give an enrichment lesson for things that are not taught until a child is typically older. I do this for both reading/phonics and math. Keeps me on my toes, and it makes our days a little bit longer which brings me to my 3rd challenge.

3. Andrew is 5. He is so smart, but he still has the attention span of a 5 year old. I'm struggling to know when to push him to do more and when to call it quits. I'm doing a good job of it, but it's still something that I'm constantly aware of. We live in a world where most people don't push their kids, and when you push your child, you are even criticized. I witnessed it first hand from an excellent group of mothers and friends I hung out with the other day. They weren't talking about Andrew, but they were talking about another friend who pushes her children - a woman I highly respect. I don't mind people criticizing me, but it got me thinking about "is there a line of when you shouldn't push your child?" and if there is, "where is that line?" I expect a lot out of my son. I want him to learn responsibility, and I want to push him to the point at which he is excelling and being challenged daily.

I'm realizing that I'm going to grow as a mother, a person, and a leader through this experience...likely as much as Andrew is going to grow. I also hope to grow in my walk with Christ. This journey will bring challenges that I never imagined, but it will make me stronger and better...if I turn to Christ. Because on my own, I will yell at my children, and flap my mouth too much in public and at home. I don't want that for myself or my children. I choose Christ....now if I could just make time to spend with HIM each day like I should be doing.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

5 Down 175 to Go

When did the highlight of my days become talking about my kid peeing in the potty? Yeah, you guessed it. Lizzy is potty training. She is terrified of big potties (ya know...reg sized ones). BUT last night she got over her fear so she wouldn't pee on the princesses that were on her pullup (yep, that's what gets her going in the potty - along with a chocolate covered raisin reward). We were invited over to a friends house with a group of people in Awana leadership - don't know how I ended up there, but yep, we got suckered into leadership.

We started school Monday, and we have now successfully completed 5 days of home education. It was hairy at some points along our journey like when Lizzy had her melt downs because she wanted brother's full attention. I have been fairly successful at getting them to work together, and they are both thoroughly enjoying their days.

I am also enjoying my days, but I've realized that I'm going to have to really "tone myself down." Andrew is an incredibly bright boy so I'm pushing him to learn harder stuff. In the meantime, I need to remember that he still has the attention span of a 5 year old, AND when he gets distracted, I need to learn to shut-up and still give him time to respond before giving away answers. I'm not teaching to share how smart I am....but to let him THINK through things to find answers. DUH!

One of my favorite activities this week was building towers with Andrew using tens cubes. However, Lizzy was melting down so I had to take her away from Andrew so he could build. I knew Andrew wanted me to see what he built so I handed him the camera and told him to take pictures of his progress instead of coming to get me to show me. It worked sooooooo well, and I will certainly do that again! He was able to explore using the towers, I was able to help Lizzy independently, and we were all 3 happy!

I can only hope and pray that our days continue going this well. And I need prayers to remain calm, continue with creative quick thinking, and patience with Lizzy while Andrew is busy.

Here are some pics of our days: Andrew & Lizzy having snack time while listening to a book on CD, Andrew building towers, Andrew taking pics of his towers, and I love how in the last pic you can see the toy hammer...which he used in his tower building activity.




Monday, August 2, 2010

Our First Day of School





Today was the first day of our homeschool adventure. I have been anxiously anticipating this day, and it seems that Andrew has too! He was put to bed at a normal time (8:30), but he didn't fall asleep until after 10:30 b/c he was so excited about his first day of school. His first day of kindergarten.

I was scared. I wasn't sure he would sit still and listen or even obey. I wasn't sure if Elizabeth would reek havoc on my house or torture me with her boredom. However, it went smoothly (well, compared to what I had imagined). There was a problem with Andrew being a little too excited. I had to send him to his room twice for playing with the same ball and hurting Lizzy with it. Lizzy did have a major melt down at one point b/c she didn't have her beloved brother entertaining her, but we got that all worked out.

Both of them loved story time.
I involved both of them in all the activities.
We did a craft together and *gasp* I even let them use paint.
We began the day with prayer & ended the day on the playground.

Lizzy was soooo tired at the end of "school."
Andrew was sooo disappointed that the school day was over, and he begged to have an hour longer to learn.

I'd say that was a pretty successful day! Now, if we can just keep up the momentum for 179 more days! Your prayers are coveted! I put 2 videos on FB of our first day, and I'll keep the pictures of our adventures rolling!

A Sink Full of Dirty Dishes


For some of you, a full sink may represent work or a chore that really no one likes to do. I really don't mind putting the dishes into the dishwasher, but I detest emptying the dishwasher. Mat usually does it although the new Orlando house has so many cabinets that it makes it easier to put things away as each thing has it's own special place.

That's not the purpose for this post.

This sink full of dirty dishes has kept a smile on my face. It represents friendship to me.

A long time ago (hmmm 11 years?) we met these special friends...the Jesels. They would have us over for dinner, serve dinner on their china, and we would help put the dishes in the sink. However, my friend, Beth (yes, Elizabeth's namesake), would NEVER do the dishes while we were there. She would tell us that our relationship was more important than doing the dishes. Wow...did that make me feel special! China and dirty dishes! It's a lesson that I've taken to heart and continued as we have friends over.

My current sink full of dishes is the remnants of a dinner party that we had on Saturday. Andrew's piano teacher (and fellow homeschooling family - the fam that introduced us to Circle Christian where Andrew will attend school on Fridays) and her precious family joined us for dinner. Her boys are older than Andrew by several years, but they ever so sweetly played with my children. They had a blast. Mat so enjoyed time with their father, and I LOVED spending time with my new friend.

So my full sink reminds me that friendships take work, but they are SOOOO rewarding!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sweet Little Lizzy



Lizzy is likely the sweetest most curtious and polite little girl I've ever met. I thought those things had to be taught to children. I've learned that some kids just come out like that. She always says "please" and "thank you." In fact, sometimes she says thank you a hundred times and ends up screaming it until you say "you're welcome." And she never leaves anyone behind. She waits on the last one to make sure they get where they need to be with encouragement. Any of you who have spent any time with her know these things about her. She is super sweet!

This morning Mat is home from working nearly 3 weeks straight for a huge event at WWOS. He was sleeping in trying to catch some of those Z's he missed. We were sitting in the kitchen/den just carrying on with our normal day, and the baby went missing. I searched everywhere for her, and I found her sitting on my high bed right beside her sleeping Daddy. She was just staring at him.

I don't know how long she'd been there, but when I found her, she started to giggle. And she patted her Daddy proudly. She loves her Dad, and she's missed him so much!...enough to go find him, climb up on our high bed, and just sit there waiting for him to wake up.

Pork Chop Saga Continued

I know that there are tons of your sitting on the edge of your seats (hahaha) waiting to hear what happened with Andrew finishing his dinner. I honestly wish this wasn't my story to share b/c I don't like how it ended. I'm honestly crushed by the ending, and I don't want any of you to hear the story and think bad things about Andrew. However, as parents, I'm sure we all have struggles like this so here goes...

Andrew finally made the choice to sit and finish his food by supper time. Lizzy and I were enjoying spinach filled omelets (nope - not the best thing for my high cholesterol but yummy none the less) while Andrew was washing each bite down with a huge swig of water...at 7pm. It was taking a very long time, but he was eating it. By 8, he had lost momentum, and by 8:15, I decided to throw in that we would all go get ice cream at the Twisty Treat when Andrew was done with his food...and he was 5 bites away. Mat got home, ate, and we were about to leave for ice cream when I shoved the last 2 bites in Andrew's mouth.

Andrew ran down the hall to put his shoes on, and while he was down there, he decided to spit the last 2 bites into the toilet and flush away the evidence. I went down the hall to hear the toilet running and to see a little boy sitting on the pot...with no food in his mouth. I asked if he spit his food in the toilet. He said no. I asked him to tell the truth. He said no. I asked why the toilet was making that sound if he didn't already flush his food down it. He said he was giving a courtesy flush (which is brilliant for a 5 year old to say I might add), and then...I asked him to be honest with me. I told him that I knew he flushed his food, and I'd still take him to get Twisty Treat if he would just tell me the truth. He then told me that he lied. He really did flush the food down the toilet.

Ugh. I was heartbroken. I understand why he lied. I just wish he hadn't. Man did my heart hurt...and at this point so did my very upset tummy. Fortunately, Mat had the brilliant idea to reheat more and make him eat it...after Andrew spent a very long time in his room thinking that he was going to get a "consequence" to his tush. He was excited to hear that the consequence was only to eat more pork (blew me away). He sat at the table for 30 more minutes, and he finally finished every single bit without spitting it out.

We talked about lying. We talked about always telling the truth no matter the situation. We shared some sweet times (as I was near death with an upset tummy at this point and completely freaking out that I had a kidney stone - which I don't, praise Jesus!) I think that we did the right thing by driving home the food AND lying issue. As bad as it hurt my heart, I'm kinda glad it happened that way, and I'm more glad that it's over today.

It's tough being a parent. It's tougher being a parent to a strong willed boy. I think many of my friends don't understand that. It sometimes seems like I'm the only one struggling with these strong willed very energetic boy things. I've learned through this experience that there are many other moms struggling to do the right thing as parents to mold these precious babies into strong men. I think all the hard work will pay off n the long run. They will make exceptional men one day! While it's tough now, I LOVE my job being a mom - especially Andrew & Elizabeth's mom!

Thanks to all the mom's out there that have encouraged me! I appreciate your prayers and support along the way.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm Not a Short Order Cook...or a Doormat!

At my house, we have a rule. You have to eat what you're given or you have to eat it again for breakfast. Sometimes I let the rule slide if we all hate our suppers (but of course, I'm a fantastic cook so that rarely happens). In all seriousness, I will allow the rule to slide if there is extra polite behavior or I can see that an effort is really made to eat the meal.

Last night we had lemon pepper pork chops, stuffing, and broccoli. Andrew would NOT dare eat it, and the complaining was constant. After being warned that he would eat it for breakfast, he made the choice to go hungry.

First thing this morning I reheated the supper. He picket at it, tried to get his sister to eat it, smeared it on the table...whatever he could think of so he wouldn't have to eat it. The complaining was still constant. He didn't show an ounce of respect.

We went to swimming and the YMCA. Surely, I thought by this point the boy who normally has already eaten 5 huge meals by this point would eat his food now. Nodda.

We went to the park with friends - a first time ever play date with new friends. He completely lost control. He cried and screamed and complained. At this point, I was NOT going to back down. My sweet friend ate with embarrassment as we sat at what was supposed to be a picnic lunch and watched her family eat...all the while Andrew was carrying on about me starving him. Man, that's a way to make friends...starve your child and go on a picnic play date with a food depraved wining child. Sometime during the day he stopped crying and decided to play with his friend, but he was 'fragile' and super moody...another way not to make friends.

I need to say that my friend was a trooper about the situation. It's nice to hang out with REAL people. She let me do what I needed to do and didn't stand in judgment of my decision. We ended up having a nice visit even in the midst of chasing after our babies.

We got home, and Andrew still has not eaten his food. I am at a loss, but I still refuse to back down. People in China are starving, and my little guy needs to appreciate whatever he is given...even if it is a little rubbery after being reheated so many times!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

High Cholesterol

I found out this week that I have high cholesterol - SUPER HIGH cholesterol....like a french fry away from a heart attack high cholesterol. The doctor was very serious with me that I was in bad shape. She frightened me a little, and I left feeling shocked. I thought I was doing things right by eating a much healthier diet, exercising consistently and such. The doc believes it's genetic...and so my journey of further learning about how to "fix" my cholesterol problem begins.

I decided to up my exercising by walking every night (bc that's the only sane time to walk after the sun is mostly down in Fl) with the kids in tow.

The first night, we ended up dumpster diving. Well, really this is the story. We walked a long way, and along our walk there were two families who had put some seriously nice stuff out on the curb for the garbage pickup. We drove back after our walk to pick through the mess. We had our eye specifically on this one really nice children's table, but someone grabbed it up before I could get back. There are TONS of foreclosures in my neighborhood. They weren't kidding when they said the market is bad in Florida. Boy, I wish our Dacula house would sell. There is a HUGE house completely upgraded in the neighborhood for only $180 on a lake lot. We saw an owl sitting on top of this house on our walk - kinda creepy and way cool! We ended our walk with some time at one of the neighborhood playgrounds. On the way home, Andrew completely freaked out when a cat sneaked up beside him. He cried and carried on in his state of delirium (as it was like 9pm by that point). He claims that he thought it was a dog that was going to attack him. Kinda scared me too cause we've seen lots of dog attack victims on TV lately.

The second night, we decided to walk a good bit and then stop at another neighborhood playground. Even though we had fully applied bug spray, we were still attacked by some large vicious mosquitoes. It was completely dark on our way home, and I got a little creeped out thinking that someone was going to attack me and the kids....and I was still thinking about the dog attacks too or even worse an alligator attack (there are tons of lakes in my neighborhood).

So...today I decided to go a different route. I decided to go to Disney's Boardwalk and walk around the lake. Then we got there and I decided...well, Epcot is just right over the bridge so we ended up in Epcot where Andrew played Kim Possible (totally awesome scavenger hunt adventure if you have kids with you and a great way to see the countries too). We visited the Cool Zone where they have free Cokes from around the world. Andrew forgot how BAD Italian Coke is. He took a huge cup full and spewed it all over. I would have gotten mad at him, but if you've ever tasted it, you would understand the intense desire to get it out of your mouth as fast as possible. Poor little guy! We left Coke with tummy aches from too much sweet syrup. Our afternoon ended with a visit to the Boardwalk Bakery - for a healthy lunch and NO sweets for the lady with high cholesterol.

I hope to figure out a good exercise routine that the kids will be able to take part in as I work on my cholesterol. It'll be good for them to walk through this with me so they can learn how to have strong healthy bodies!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Some Things are Just Plain Funny



The kids have been having a blast playing cops and robbers today. I've enjoyed listening to them give out warnings. One guy got a warning for speeding b/c he had to rush home to go watch Popular Mechanics for Kids with his daughter. That just happens to be Andrew's favorite show ever so he wrote the guy a warning and sent him flying home so they could get started. Lizzy got so tired that she nearly begged for a nap so I put my littlest officer in bed.

My mom reminded me that I forgot to write about something that happened the other day. Lizzy has terrible trouble going #2. So when she does GO it's an event that we ALL hear about through her wretched screams. It's been like that since the day she was born. I have had to change up my ways of helping her out b/c her little body gets used to benefiber, fruit, juice, raisins, prunes, myrolax, and I have to change about every 2 weeks. With that said, I had to take Lizzy to her swimming lessons. We got there, and I always keep her diaper on until the last minute. It's a requirement that she wear a reusable cloth swimmie to the lessons - NO throw away ones allowed. So I saw that her teacher was ready for her and I went to pull off her diaper. It got stuck between her chubbly little legs so I had to tug very hard to get it off. I got it off and swiftly pulled up her swimmie that was already on her so no one could see her little petunia. As this is happening, I started hearing shrieking from the 2 young girls sitting beside us with their mom and dad. "POOPIE!" I look over, and the tugging I had going on to release the diaper from between Lizzy's little legs also caused a huge ball of poop to fly across the poolside concrete splatting nearly at the girls feet. I was completely oblivious until the girls started screaming about it.

At first, I was embarrassed. I apologized, cleaned it up with about 10 baby wipes (until the dirty sidewalk that is normally a dirt shade was sparkling white), and I rushed Lizzy into the bathroom to make sure her swimmie was clean before it was her turn in the water. I got REALLY tickled in the bathroom. Honestly, the people were up hauled. Had I been sitting there with Mat, we would have died laughing at the giant flying poop. These people gave me mean glares. I came out of the bathroom trying to hide my laughter, but I was laughing so hard I was shaking. I needed a good laugh, but it made the people more upset. All I can say is $%^& happens...apparently more with my family than most! You can't make this stuff up people, and it's constant around my house.

Oh, and in the pic, you can see our perfect new rug. The tile floor has been wreaking havoc on my children's little noggins as they fall off the sofa and slide on the slippery floor. I finally had enough when Lizzy was just standing there and slid so fast and hard that you could hear the loud "clock" of her noggin. She was so sad. I found an amazing deal at Kohl's with 55% off a $200 rug...and an additional $15 off coupon - of course, since I'm now the crazy coupon lady! It fits perfectly in the den, and it matches our furniture perfectly! I love it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Simple Wonderful Days





I have 2 funny stories to share with you today and then just some cute stuff.

Yesterday, we went shopping at Sam’s Club, and Lizzy picked out some pull-ups with Princesses on them. We got home, went back out and ran errands, and then put a pull-up on Lizzy. She was really excited, and we talked about not peeing on Cinderella. So far, she has gone potty in the potty about 3-4 times (losing count) b/c she doesn’t want to “peepee on Cindy-rella” (you should really call her to hear her say it herself). We’re on day 2 of the potty training, and so far, she loves getting M&M (although she is asking for money instead) as a reward. We’ll see how long this lasts 

Story #2: I made everyone’s favorite meal for dinner last night…dun dun du duh – Chicken de van. Lizzy was double fisting it into her mouth after giving a good go of it with the fork and giving up. Andrew had a huge first portion & asked for a second portion which he ate in 10 seconds flat. Mat & I were enjoying actually getting to eat together when Andrew ran to the trash can to toss his cookies. Seems he ate a bit too much of his favorite food…all the while still proclaiming that he LOVED chicken de van. Poor guy ;) He’s totally fine now, but he did over eat!

Today, we are enjoying a relaxing day at home. The kids are wreaking havoc in Lizzy’s room playing with all her “new found” toys that have been hiding in her closet. I’m loving it. The kids also both got new shoes after their oblivious mother realized they were both wearing shoes over a size too small. The new shoes all light up so occasionally we shut the door, close the blinds, turn off the lights, and the kids do a light shoe by stomping their shoes on the ground.

It’s days like these that I remember why I love my life!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Piano

Before we moved to Orlando, my parents gave us their piano. We immediately found a piano teacher who I have quickly found to be one of the most fascinating people I have ever met.

Today marked Andrew's one month anniversary of playing the piano. He has come a long way. The days of banging on the paino are long gone, and REAL music is happening already! He is a quick boy who has talented little fingers :) and a musical mind. I'm not surprised.

I am surprised at the struggle that happens each week. Practice time is pretty great...until Andrew can't figure out something on his own. His patience ends when something doesn't come easy to him. So this week, when the letters of the notes weren't written inside the notes our happy world of practicing became very challenging times of power struggles. Oh, he did practice...and he did his theory...but his mind was somewhere else.

I thought I was going to get my hand swatted by the piano teacher today. I told her that's what I thought, and she, in her every so sweet being, told me that I was doing great with Andrew AND that Andrew is doing great! She also had one of her boys read with Elizabeth while I listened in and was able to focus on Andrew's lesson.

Her boys were super excited to share some of their toys with Andrew after class. They had 3 roller coaster Kinex (or whatever those things are called) built, and they whisked Andrew off into their special room filled with Star Wars toys and Kinex as soon as his lesson was over. Andrew's eyes were as big as saucers when he saw all their amazing toys, and I had a hard time getting him to leave. The boys helped me get Andrew to leave, and we promised a play date...SOON.

The piano teacher is a homeschool mom. She loves Jesus, loves her children, and loves people in ways that most people never will understand. My prayer is that I can be like her, and I can raise my children to be 2 wonderful Godly young people! I wish you could meet her. She's a pretty fantastic lady!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wild Animals

I was just thinking on the way to church this morning that we haven't seen our bird or other animal friends as much as usual in our backyard mud pit. Literally, moments later as I was walking Lizzy to her SS class, a HUGE armadillo crossed my path and went into the bushes. I had never seen one in real life before or even one dead on the side of the road. The classes at church are all trailers attached by sidewalks much like you find at many public schools. I ran by the bushes to pass by the animal.

Right after church, we had to drive to WWOS to take something to Mat who has been working nearly around the clock. As I was driving on Disney property (behind the Grand Floridian), a GIANT horse sized deer ran very fast right at me and swirved to run behind my car. I have never seen a deer that big before, and I've never had one run directly at my car either. I was going slow, and I slowed to nearly a stop as I saw it running toward me. Wow...that deer could have done some serious damage!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Collisions of the Day

We live in a very quiet part of Orlando. So quiet that there are no gas stations. We do have a Publix, Walgreens & Papa Johns, but beyond that we have to drive at least 15 minutes to get to the next closest store.

Mat's been working a lot lately in preparation for the big summer competitions at WWOS. It's all good, but being ON 100% of the time has left me a bit frazzled. In fact, I almost ran out of gas...which around here is a BIG deal. Yesterday, I decided to get the kids all ready to go to the neighborhood pool when I remembered I needed gas. It's a hike to the gas station, but I was afraid that even if I just drove the mile to the pool, I wouldn't make it the 10 min up the road to the gas station. So we took a huge detour to get gas. I pulled into the parking lot of the strangest gas station ever and inches away just behind me there was a huge horrible accident. I pulled into a parking space to get gas (at the weird gas station you drive into parking spaces to fill up), and was nearly accosted by 3 guys who were commenting on me getting into the parking lot just in time! I'm sure I looked just like Andrew as my eyes were surely as big as saucers. Scary! And if I had been there a few seconds later, I would surely have got caught in the wreck traffic and ran out of gas on the highway in front of the gas station. God was watching out for us!

At the pool, Elizabeth HAD to be just like her big brother and dive into the pool over and over and over, and then she swam to me, back to the wall and then did the dive thing all over again. I finally had enough of catching her an hour later, but when we went to get out of the pool, Lizzy had a horrible 2 year old temper tantrum. It didn't help that there was the most dangerous "mommy play-date" going on at the pool, and children were running amuck, screaming, and shooting water guns at everyone. Several people just had enough of the idiot mom's who weren't watching their kids and left. Fortunately, we had made friends with a sweet family, and they helped me calm down by simply laughing. Laughter sometimes just makes everything a little better :)

Later that day, I had a collision with a frog on an evening stroll around the neighborhood with the family. Poor little frog was just jumping along the sidewalk and jumped right into my leg...and POOR ME. That slimy creature just freaked me out. I wiped the slime frog juice all over Andrew's shirt, and he thought it was hysterical. Mat was dying, and sweet Elizabeth was sympathetic and very worried. I nearly wet myself, and the rest of the way home, I was on the verge of wetting my pants....and we were over a mile away from home on foot! I was never so happy to get home.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A New Day

Each day brings challenges. Some are new challenges, and some are old constant challenges. I've been thinking a lot about challenges lately as I've been through some doosies.

First, there was the mistake with the speeding ticket that could have landed me in jail. Then there was the whole breast cancer scare. Other days I am just beside myself with knowing how to be the mom my children need. Most often I find myself failing miserably. I have high expectations of myself, but sometimes those expectations are impossible.

Today (so far at least) I've felt like a successful mom who has been attentive to the needs of my children, and we've had a wonderful day. My children are both VERY strong willed and loud. They test me continually. I'm preparing to homeschool Andrew, and there are moments that I think what in the world am I doing? This morning, we had a successful "practice" morning. Andrew worked hard on site words, handwriting, and reading while Lizzy colored - everything! She drew with crayon all over my dry erase board, spilled apple sauce on the tile, got into the markers...she was all over the place. But I remained calm, and Andrew stayed focused. I guess that's how our real school days will look on an ongoing basis. I felt super successful though b/c Andrew actually learned some things this morning in spite of the distractions!

As I've been studying Andrew this summer, I've got all kinds of unorthodox lessons planned. I can't wait for the real deal to start so I can implement them. In the meantime, we are working hard on site words!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Andrew's Perspective

It's been a busy few weeks and SO much fun. The fam came down to visit our new home in Windermere. We had lots of fun and made many wonderful memories. I hope they don't stay away for long. In the meantime, I'm enjoying some quality time with it being just the 4 of us.

My kids keep me laughing. Last night, we had a dinner party with the family of a guy Mat works with. There were 2 girls in the fam, nearly the same age as our children. So Andrew found out that there were girls coming, and he showered and got on his best clothes in preparation for their arrival. The girls were very pretty and super sweet. At the end of the night, Lizzy was playing with her dolls (clear proof that she needs some little girl interaction), and Andrew was wishing the girls were his sisters.

Today, we went to church, ate lunch at a place called Pom Pom's (yummO), and went to get fitted for shoes - the shoes part didn't work out so well for me, but Mat got a nice new pair. On the way home, we stopped by Publix to get the paper (gotta get those coupons). In the parking lot (at the entrance to Publix on bikes), there was a man reading the riot act to his son. Mat and I commented that the boy likely did something dangerous to scare the father into giving the stern lecture, and Andrew hollers at the exact same time, "That's what kids do." Thought it was funny how we each had a different perspective of what was happening.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Fought the Law and the Law....

LOST!

Last Thursday afternoon, I got a letter forwarded from our Dacula house to Florida saying that there was a "warrant for my arrest." Wow...that was out of the blue. I had absolutely NO clue what had happened nor what I possibly could have done to receive such a letter. There was a phone # on the letter to call recorders court so I did. After a 5 minute recording and a long wait for the next representative, I found out that the warrant was for failure to pay for or show up in court for a speeding ticket I never received. I couldn't handle it over the phone - only in person - which proved to be difficult considering I live 8 hours from Lawrenceville.

After panicking, praying, completely freaking out, hiding in the closet, and trying to relax about it, we did some checking into with the help of a police officer friend. He shared that I would likely have been arrested if I still lived in Georgia, and I could still be arrested in Florida.

So we sent my Mom to the courthouse, and they immediately went into a flurry as the ticket read "warning" where my signature should have been on the ticket that I never received. Considering I was speeding to avoid an accident, the officer didn't give me a ticket - just a verbal warning...a LONG time ago.

The solicitor said I could either pay the ticket or risk going to jail - and I WAS INNOCENT. We decided to take our chances and wait for them to go through all they needed to to gt a judge to free me from the fine. We got word today (through mucho complication) that a judge had indeed freed me from my charged. As a precaution, we sent Mom to the courthouse to get the signed copy from the judge.

I feel rather violated and stripped of my freedom. I was very panicky for a few days - this rule follower couldn't handle the stress of being "wanted." Plus we didn't have our Florida tags (and the GA ones expired yesterday) so I had to drive slowly watching over my shoulder at every turn.

I NEVER want to go through that again! I'm grateful that it is over AND that it ended in my favor without a record of going to jail!

My entire family is joking about it, and while I don't mind their jokes, it's still not very funny to me. This one may take a long time to be funny. In the meantime, I enjoying the feeling of having 100 pounds of pure stress lifted off my shoulders!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bumps in the Road of Life

I've had a tremendously difficult week. Everyone always says that when it rains, it pours. I'm usually the strong one who can handle just about anything, but I'm pretty sure God is trying to teach me that when I am weak HE is strong. It seems like a mean way to teach me, but I guess he had to somehow!

I'll share just a little bit, but honestly, there is some stuff that I'm really not ready to talk about. I need a little longer to let it settle, and then...maybe it will even be funny.

Right before we moved down here, I found some lumps in my breast. My family has a history of pre-menopausal breast cancer so I immediately had to find an OB doc here in Florida (which I did with the help of a sweet lady from First Baptist Orlando). I then had to schedule a mammogram and ultrasound. Both came back clear, but so did Mom's so they are sending me to a surgeon. I have an appointment with a surgeon here on July 8. They were only able to detect my mom's cancer through a biopsy. They thought she had cysts, which is what they have told me I have.

As if that isn't enough stress, there was more thrown my direction last week that has just plane made me scared. I'm sure it will all turn out alright, but when you think of me, please pray. I'll happily share the results of both stories after there is resolution. In the meantime, you might be able to find me hiding in my closet :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Creepy Critters

I'm pretty sure I have found the place where I was born to live. I LOVE living in Florida. Yes, it's hot and humid, it rains every day, and there are lots of bugs here. BUT I don't mind using bug spray (as long as I remember to apply it), and I'm getting used to the heat. I've also learned to love rain b/c it cools off the world...even if it just last for a few minutes. In fact, I have found myself wanting a light jacket even when it's 75 degrees...hahaha!

I do believe I underestimated the critters though. When we moved here, Mat & Andrew dug a snake skin out of the AC outside. Lizards scamper whenever you walk by. Mosquitoes are everywhere. This week though...I've had my FILL of creepy crawly slimy dirty critters!

While swimming in a very nice pool on Saturday (with the Bridger fam here from Atlanta), we looked over to find a snake swimming with us - eek! Yesterday, I felt a bug crawling on my hand and looked down to find a roach - brought back horrid memories of cleaning out Aunt Shirley's roach infested house. Today at VBS (I'm helping in Andrew's class at our new church's VBS this week), I saw a snake slithering on the sidewalk in front of me very close to where Elizabeth was - stay FAR away from me but further away from my baby! And in one of the classrooms, I found a dead frog and 2 dead lizards - which were promptly cleaned up by other Florida natives (which I was thankful that they spared me that task)! I went out to move my "pot" garden more into the sunshine and stood up to find 4 large sandhill cranes standing right beside me - yikes!

I'm sure I'll grow some tougher skin the more frequently I see stuff like this, but seriously, snakes are snakes and will never be comfort critters!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Nasty Cleaning Jobs

This morning started out perfect! The three of us got a great night's sleep, neither child has had fever for well over 24 hours now, Lizzy is happy and not cranky, plus we are all looking forward to going to see Toy Story 3 tonight at the movies (a rare occasion for our family as we are too cheap to go to the movies often and usually wait for the $1 movies or now we check them out at the library.)

As we were sitting at the breakfast enjoying our Pop Tarts, a breakfast of champions, we were bird watching, enjoying the sunshine coming in our large breakfast room window, and enjoying the company of one another and our conversations. Nonchalantly, Andrew peers over his Pop Tart and this is what went down:

A - "Mom, did you notice I have bare feet?"
Me - "No, that's weird. Where are your socks?" (the boy NEVER goes without socks)
A - "I took them off. I tried on all the socks in my drawer, but they were too small."
Me - thinking the mess I was going to have to clean up was a distraught sock drawer...prodded Andrew to continue
A - "I had diarrhea this morning. I kept flushing the toilet, and it overflowed so I had to change my socks."
Me - finished eating my breakfast with the looming thought that I was going to have to clean lots of poop off the floor

After breakfast, I didn't rush to the bathroom, but I did make my way there. Yep, it was messy, but not nearly what I had expected. It's a good thing I have a tendency to expect the worst. So I rolled up the sleeves of my sleeveless nightie, and scoured the floor. Cleaning $%&* off the floor may be my new favorite thing to do. Woohoo - I love cleaning me some poop!

In all honesty, it wasn't that bad. It gave me a great excuse to do another spring cleaning in that bathroom, and it gave me a one up on Mat...although I'm sure I still owe him for his poopy pool experience!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Life Happens and so does $%&*

I've realized a few things living in Florida:

Race doesn't matter. I'd say half of the couples around here are different races or nationalities. I'm certainly not trying to be mean here, but you can't tell what race many of the children are b/c of that. No one bats an eye at interracial marriages, relationships or families. I LOVE that about Florida, and I guess that's what makes my kids with their light blond ringlets and blue eyes so famous.

It's hot here. All you Atlanta peeps are complaining about your 92 degree weather while I am suffering some serious temperature shock here. At 11:30, it was 100 degrees, and that wasn't even during the heat of the day. I swear it would have been 110 here during the hot part of the day if a thunderstorm hadn't come to cool us off! I'm gonna die here. Fortunately, our house retains the cool air nicely so I'm cozy inside - which is where I stay until at least 6pm.

Andrew embarrasses me or makes me laugh on a regular basis. All these quotes are from today alone:

1. He told the doctor "why is there a bug on your face?" and it was clearly just a mole. The doc said his daughter says the same thing - thank you for the out of embarrassment, doc!

2. Mom, why is there so much extruction paper here. Translation - they are doing lots of "road construction" everywhere around here.

3. Andrew asked, "can we got eat at John Young papa cow for lunch?" Translation - Can we go eat at Pollo Tropical on John Young Pkwy. That one used all my mad deciphering skills.

4. And this is the one I was most concerned about: "I'm gonna play chunky monkey with the torpedos in my mouth." Last time he played "chubby bunny" we were having 1st time guests over to a dinner party, and he barfed all over the driveway after eating only 2 marshmallows. Somehow despite that experience, we are now BFF's with that family.

And Finally, for those wondering about the title of this blog post, Lizzy pooped in her cloth swimy at the pool Monday. Mat nearly vomited as he made the discovery and the mad dash for the bathroom (as I was running for the hills and trying not to pee my pants laughing in the process). You should have heard the gagging coming from the men's bathroom. I dodged a bullet with that one! Not that I would have handled the situation the same way...I would have peeked for poopies before removing the swimy in the first place. He recognizes his flaw, and for some reason, Mat now insists on using the throw away swimmies.

And that's pretty much a normal day around my house. Gotta love kids and weak stomached adults.