Weekend Break

February 14, 2009 at 7:35 am | Posted in Craftin' With Hali, Crafty, family, Holidays, Home Decor | Leave a comment
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Substitutes have been called in for the class that Jeremy and I teach every Sunday. People have been informed that we are not going to be around. We will be around. Just not for any one else, if that makes any sense?

This weekend we decided that out poor over tired and over stressed family needs some quality family chill out time. This weekend we aren’t worrying about taking care of anything or anyone but ourselves. Phones will be off tomorrow morning. 

We are going to have a nice leisurely breakfast complete with cinnamon rolls. Then we may even eventually get out of our pajamas and do some shopping. Furniture shopping! With the sales going on this weekend, I can’t resist taking a look. After all, our loan is in underwriting and we are about to be the proud new owners of a much larger house than the one we are currently in. This calls for more furniture! I love furniture.

And let’s not forget that it being Valentine’s Day mean lots of dessert and treat making. I have strawberries for dipping in chocolate at the ready. We may even get ambitious and do some cookies.

This? Is the extent of my plans for this weekend. Doesn’t it sound wonderful?! A weekend of doing NOTHING!

Crafting and sewing sound like welcome activities for Hali and I to do Sunday and I bet a nap will be a necessity for Jeremy!

Here are some crafts from last Valentine’s Day that never got posted:

valentine garland

Valentine’s paper heart garland strung together with a strand of red sequins!

wooden heart cutouts

I believe this was purchased at Hobby Lobby. It’s made of wood which Hali painted red and then we hung it from the light above our breakfast table.

cardboard heart boxes

Heart shaped cardboard boxes that we decorated with paint, glue, glitter, stickers and ribbon. Hali and I both thoroughly enjoyed making these and they really are a great craft for you to do with your kids- everyone can work on their own, they are reasonably cheap and they turn out cute. Fill them up with treats and give them away or keep them for yourselves. Or both- that’s what we did!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

They Come in Batches

January 19, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Posted in complaining, family, self awareness, The Mundane | 6 Comments
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The past few weeks, it seems as if the stress is just coming in batches.

Family turmoil (not the three of us- other family) that we just can’t seem to avoid despite our wishes.

Some news from a friend that has me worried and heart broken for her. I’m a fixer and I hate it when there isn’t anything that I can do to fix a problem that someone close to me has.

Changes with Jeremy’s job.

The whole home buying process is a big deal for us as well. It’s our first home purchase and it also means we are soon going to be parting with a good chunk of our beloved cash that we have been squirreling away for months. Between a sizable down payment and closing costs, we’re feeling slightly sick to our stomachs about it.

But it does help that we are completely enamoured with our new home. Yes, the house has things here and there that bother us, but most of it is fixable for a relatively low price. So says she who is still waiting to hear back from the inspector.

My excitement over what a fabulous house we’re buying is evenly tempered with my dread. What if the financing doesn’t go through? I can’t believe the debt we’re putting ourselves in! What if something happens and we can’t afford it? So, I promise myself that I won’t get too excited until it is a done deal.

But then I go show the house off to a friend and join her in screaming at how fabulous the house is. It really is an awesome house. I don’t want to sound like a braggart ( I do so detest those people) so I won’t go into detail, but it really is something- especially for a first home.

And for over a week now I seem to be utterly incapable of not thinking about the fact that my baby will be going to school this summer. Kindergarten, folks. All day kindergarten. When I share this with anyone, they usually just raise their eyebrows and suggest that maybe it’s finally time to have another baby. That’s not it. It’s not that I won’t have a baby at home to take care of all day, it’s that Hali, my baby, isn’t going to be home all day. There is a difference. I’ve been fighting off the depression of this for days now.

All this complaining has made me thirsty. Perhaps I can find comfort in my very favorite drink, Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi? No? Oh, that’s right- I’ve quit caffeine. I know, right! Maybe the timing wasn’t the best, but I knew my soda intake was getting ridiculous, so I’ve cut back on the amount quite a bit and have quit drinking caffeinated soda all together. Or, as we here in the south call it, coke. Do I drink Coke? No, but all sodas are referred to as coke down here. Odd, right? That’s one Texas oddity that I do not participate in. I call it soda, thanks. Less confusion that way.

Whoohoo

January 15, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Posted in family, The Mundane, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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So. Our offer on a totally awesome house? Was accepted. We’re very excited. It’s not a done deal yet, obviously the financing has to be done, but our mortgage broker seems to think it’s all fine. I’m going through the house today to take measurements for curtains and furniture. And to show it off to a friend, of course.

I am just itching to decorate! I do love home decor. And eating. And, well, adult relations which I can now have because the father-in-law is no longer staying with us! So just a really good week all around.

So now the moving house ordeal starts again. I am a professional at this- with eight moves in the seven years that I’ve been married, one would have to be. 

A purging of all unwanted clutter before we move is something that is done every time. I am being particularly picky this time about what little dust collectors I really and truly like and which ones I don’t. Will things like that frame come back in style in a few years? Should I just keep it in a box in storage for a while? I’m questioning myself.

I’ve even packed up a few nic-nacs and such. Hali saw the boxes and was adamant that she start packing up her room. So I let her put her pictures, nic-nacs, etc. in a box. She was quite pleased with herself. I think moving every year or so is just a fact of life for poor Hali, so I feel good about having a more permanent home for our little family soon.

December Weekend

December 8, 2008 at 6:18 am | Posted in adventures with Hali, family, Holidays, The Mundane | 4 Comments
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The three of us spent the weekend house hunting and decking the halls. We looked at several houses, none of which were “the one”. But we did finish getting all the Christmas things up.

Saturday the outdoor lights went up, as well as the tree. Sunday night the Christmas music was turned on, Harry Potter was on the tv, and we put all the ornaments on our tree. Best hot chocolate I’ve ever made was consumed:

                                hot chocolate

Who knew that adding a big spoonful of homemade whipped cream to the top could make a packet of Swiss Miss taste so dang nummy?

Happy Thanksgiving 2008!

November 26, 2008 at 4:35 pm | Posted in family, Holidays, self awareness | 2 Comments
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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! In keeping with tradition, I would like to share what I am most thankful for this year.

I am most thankful for my ability to BE thankful. I am thankful for all of those times of total contentment when I find myself wanting nothing. The times when I am simply watching my daughter and my husband interact and my heart swells so much it aches. And I know that there is nothing better than being right there in that moment, soaking it all up and filing it away in my memory. A perfect moment.

My life may not be perfect, but so many hours of each day are nearly. And I am thankful that I am just fine with nearly.

                          hpim2700

Unit Study

October 20, 2008 at 3:52 pm | Posted in adventures with Hali, education, family, preschool | 3 Comments
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Without even realizing it we had alreatsdy started a sort of “unit study” approach to our preschool, where we focused on one thing or area at a time, moving along each week or other regular interval. So imagine my surprise when I was reading up about all the different approaches and curriculum out there and DUH! the unit study approach was the best fit for us.

The OCD, organizational freak that I am loves this. and the slightly obsessive Hali does as well. We really do best when we focus on one thing until we are done with it. So far, she really absorbs everything well and doesn’t forget much of what she has previously learned. I’m sure that next summer will be spent doing a little review before kindergarten starts, but I’m honestly not too worried about it.

I love the flexibility of unit study as well. I can sort of plan units out so that they coincide with a field trip or holiday. In addition, we have plans to meet up at least once a week with some friends who are also homeschooling or in preschool. We’ll get together for outings, field trips, or just simple activities that have to do with each unit we are studying. This just really adds to the fun of it all for Hali (and for me- adult conversation! Yay!) and also helps to take care of the socialization aspect.

This is an idea of how you might go about planning a unit, and it is very nearly how I planned mine, though I did mine on a grander scale. Putting units together can basically be as time consuming as you want them to be. You dont’ have to plan every tiny little thing out, just make a list of things that need to be taught and run with it.

I’ve found some great local activities that can be tied into a few units, so I have scheduled the units to correlate with, say, when the local children’s museum is doing a class on dinosaurs.

For the next couple of weeks we will be learning about seasons and more specifically fall. This coincides with, obviously, the season we are in now, but also several activities we have planned like going to a pick-you-own pumpkin patch. Things that we would be doing anyway, but can become a learning experience and a reward at the end of the week.

I really am loving this whole homeschooling thing! Every time we start and finish a unit. Every time we go out for some fun with other homeschoolers. Every time I get to experience first-hand Hali’s eyes lighting up when she figures something out. I’m pleased with our decision to homeschool and I couldn’t be happier about getting this extra year with my Hali at home!

What My Husband Did This Weekend

September 22, 2008 at 5:36 pm | Posted in family | 6 Comments
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Speaking of the hubs, want to know what he did this weekend? Not really? Too bad.

                                            

Suddenly that 1/16th Cherokee is obvious in him. At least he gave up on growing his hair and facial hair out so that we would all be strip searched the next time we travel because of his obvious Lebanese ancestry. I made him boom “I pity da fool” about a hundred times yesterday before I realized that he was part Cherokee which would be more fitting of the look and gave him his Native American name “Flatulent Jeremy”.

Regardless, my husband does look a little intimidating when he shaves his head and is sporting facial hair. So here’s the Jeremy I know and love:

                                                

I love how the bathroom light bounces off of his bald head. It’s so shiny. And for new readers that haven’t seen what he normally looks like:

                                          

I’ve not been embarrassed by my husband often in our over 7 years together. However. I refuse to be seen in public with him until the hawk is gone. Also? He had the best thick soft hair. It was just long enough to run my fingers through. Now? My hand just kind of sticks to his dome.

The Time Old Navy Made Me Cry

September 5, 2008 at 3:35 pm | Posted in adventures with Hali, family, self awareness, The Mundane | 2 Comments
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Somehow I signed up to have Old Navy e-mail me their store adds. I clicked on the ad this morning. It was for a sale on baby clothes. Baby clothes. For newborns all the way up through size 5T. My four year old daughter? Is a size 6 now.

I don’t even get to shop for her in the same part of the store anymore. She is firmly insisting on continually growing. My tall lanky little girl is not so little anymore. She’s always been in the highest percentile for height.

So here I am. I have a preschooler. I have a big girl. She rarely lets me refer to her as even “my baby” anymore. We are going through this whole new, take-it-to-the-next-level independent stage. She doesn’t want to hold my hand. She doesn’t want to ride in the grocery cart anymore- she wants to walk beside it. Cuddles are few and far between.

All these dang milestones. Now I am just all the more determined to enjoy this last year at home we have together. I knew she wouldn’t be my baby girl forever, and it is exciting to see her growing up, I just wish it didn’t manage to jab me in the heart every single time there is irrefutable proof that my baby girl isn’t a baby anymore.

                                               

Influencing My Child

August 19, 2008 at 5:24 am | Posted in adventures with Hali, family, preschool, self awareness | 1 Comment

As a parent I worry more than enough about how I am influencing my child. Guilt hits me as soon as something I said wrong leaves my big mouth. I use a word I shouldn’t have. I criticize when I should have praised. Or do I praise too much? Did I praise the right thing? Should I focus more on the effort than the actual outcome? I haven’t been eating as many vegetables as I should- surely Hali has picked up on that and so she’s not eating hers as well as she should.

I swear I can make everything about me! It’s always somehow my fault. Even in my head.

So on top of the normal day-to-day parental influencing that I have, I am now inflicting my educational influences on my daughter. For the next year I am in charge of her schooling. Great. Another area I can totally mess up. I have to confess to being less than enthusiastic about some aspects of education. Thankfully, most of these aspects are more a part of the public school system. Not schooling itself.

However, I do have a hard time balancing encouragement with outright pushiness. A couple of weeks ago, Hali was sitting next to me at the desk in the office. She had decided she wanted to work in a workbook. One of those trace-the-letter-then-draw-it-on-your-own deals.

She settled in next to me and started working away, making the same letter five or six times, turn the page, repeat. She had done about two pages. Realistically, that is pretty dang good for a four year old. She had just begun work on her third page. She decided that she was tired and wanted to quit. So I looked at the page. It was a letter that she struggles with drawing.

I kind of froze. I thought about pushing her on. I thought about just suggesting another letter to work on. I thought about just saying that was fine and to go play.

I was really worried over this little thing, because for some reason, on this day, the enormity of how my response would influence her hit me hard. So, I smiled, and told her all her letters looked really good (and they did). I gave her a sticker on the complete pages at her request. And I said ” Qs are tricky! Here, let me make you another dotted one for you to trace so you can practice making it”.  This made her pretty happy and she traced it. She decided that was enough and I let it be.

I didn’t want to push her to the point where she just didn’t think it was fun any more. But I also didn’t want her to close her work book in frustration over a “tricky” letter and have it ruin her enthusiasm.

Thinking about it afterwards as she was playing, I couldn’t help but think about how badly this could have gone. I was sort of doing my own thing on the computer while she was working next to me. Only half paying attention. I’d look over when she wanted my attention and smile and tell her I was proud of her for working so hard. Had I been in a bad mood and out of patience or whatever, I really may have responded differently. And I worry about the impact that could have had on her.

That little educational moment may not seem like a big deal at a glance, or even to other people, but we are in the early stages here, and I really do fear I will mess this up for her. As her parent, I naturally have hopes for her. I want her to love learning. I want her to enjoy it. While I think it is only natural that she wants my or another teacher’s approval, I want her to work hard because she wants to.

Mini Vacation 2008

August 15, 2008 at 4:23 pm | Posted in adventures with Hali, family, vacation | 2 Comments
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We recently discovered the greatness of The Mini Vacation. We spent most of a weekend at the beach and had a blast. Jeremy decided to inform me that we were going just a few days before we were going to be leaving. So, I decided to roll with it and make it a Big Deal. We booked a hotel last minute, packed a bag with a couple changes of clothes, a cooler full of drinks and snacks, and loaded up all our beach gear.

I have to admit, we had the best time. A couple hours drive there. A couple hours at the beach. A swim in the beautiful hotel pool. After showers and some sprucing up we decided to walk next door to The Rainforest Cafe. We’ve never taken Hali, so it was quite an experience for us as a family. If you’ve never been to one and/or you have the opportunity to take the kids DO IT! The whole thing is just great. Excuse the bad picture- they keep the whole place pretty dark- its supposed to be like a real rainforest…

Our hotel room had a balcony with a beach and pool view:

There was mini golf. Or was it putt-putt? Either way? Fun! Hali’s first time. It got to the point where I was having such bad luck it was kind of a game to see just how many times I could miss a shot that looked as though it should have gone in. If that is a game, I am the winner, hands down.

And, on the way home, pancakes, waffles, and this:

some amateur car races at the Gulf Greyhound Racetrack. Jeremy was a happy man. Again, sorry for the bad picture quality- it’s hard to photograph racing cars while you’re still sitting in your car with a camera that needs replacing.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend. We already have plans on doing it again next year.

This was actually the view as we were leaving the mini golf course. (Darn you power lines! You have ruined too many of my photos!)

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