Friday, June 22, 2018

Marriage is Worth It

I have a sweet friend who is new to the blogging world that I just adore.  I actually met her when she was a teen- the daughter of a friend that God brought into my life when I didn't even know I needed a friend.  (I did!  And she has blessed me over and over again through the years!) She is so dear to my heart and of course, her sweet daughter is too.

By the grace and goodness of God, we were all reunited years later in Omaha.  That sweet teen has grown into a lovely young woman, who is now married and raising three precious girls.  I mean seriously, precious!

She shared a blog post this week that spoke to my heart.  It reminded me of my younger days with a new marriage and young children, and the challenges that holds.

And it reminded me of the importance of fortitude, and determination, and love and GOD!

It had a lot of good reminders to us all, whether a newlywed, or an old married pro.  (do those even exist?)

So I asked if I could share with you all!  She said yes!

Here ya go folks- enjoy and be blessed and remember that God's plan is perfect, even through the ups and downs!

You can find Kailah blogging at The Mindful Life.  Nebraska mama to 3 precious girls & wifey to my mister. A blog about real life, motherhood, meal planning, relationships, minimalism, and our passionate journey to Homeschooling.

My husband and I are celebrating seven years of marriage this coming Monday! These past seven years have flown by, and have blessed us more than we could have ever imagined. We have a very short timeline of when we met, when we got engaged, when we married, and when we had our first baby. Many people had doubts, but we knew that our commitment to one another was nothing to take lightly. We had a shotgun wedding, as some would tag us as, but the amount of love and support that we received from our friends and family was simply incredible. Now, seven years later, three miracle babies, three pregnancy losses, a home purchase, several family trips, the loss of my grandpa, an unbelievable amount of family drama that showed us that we cleave and settle into one another, instead of letting it tear us apart, and everything in between, has shaped the best and worst seven years of my life....

Read the rest here!


Monday, June 18, 2018

Still Here...

Literally.  Still here  In an AirBNB.  Living out of suitcases.  Minimal school books, minimal clothes, and minimal things in general.

Are we having fun yet?

Go on, you answer- I will just sit here quietly and try not to cry!

OK, it is not THAT bad but it could be close to getting that bad!  Our oldest went on a trip for a week to visit a friend.  Well timed- I think she was starting to go stir crazy.

Clarke left this morning for a quick two day trip.  Again, well timed!  Excited for him, bummed for me.

Thankfully there are some things to be excited about.  

We found a house we really like.  Just gotta figure out how to buy it while we still own our house in Omaha.

Clarke loves his job so far!

Friends are starting to make plans to come visit us and our calendars give us something to look forward to!  Make your reservations quick!

We have found some new school things to start so if, I mean, when, our stuff finally gets delivered we will be ahead in a few school subjects!

AND....we are featured on the Timberdoodle Blog today!  If you remember, I review for them occasionally, as they one of our favorite homeschool curriculum catalogs.  The products Timberdoodle Co. carries are amazing and fun and many can be used for any kiddo, not just homeschoolers.  Take a look sometime!

Here is the link for our "Day in the Life article" so you can read about what our day currently looks like while we strive to survive...and THRIVE!!


Monday, June 11, 2018

Happy Birthday, 11 Year Old!

Wishing this amazing kiddo of ours a Happy 11th Birthday!


He keeps us young and keeps us laughing.
He challenges us to be better parents and shows us what it means to love.

He is a joy and a gift!  He may have only been home for 9 years, but he has been in our hearts forever!

He is LOVED!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Day to Day and Back to School

Let me just start by saying when your hubby has been home for a month and with you day to day, when he goes back to work it gets lonely!  And quiet!

Well, ok not too quiet with five of us at home, but you get the idea.  It is a weird transition.

One of many.

Like seeing him head to work in dress clothes rather than that familiar green flight suit.
And spending our mornings swimming and afternoons doing school.
And having all the kids home at one time.
And living in a house with minimal possessions for who knows how long.
And not having friends just around the corner to do things with.
And still waking up every morning at 5:30 because our internal clocks have not yet caught a clue.
And having trouble connecting with old friends because of that time change.
And... you get the idea.

We are still working on some details. ;)

But there are some great things happening!
Colby turns 11 on Monday!
We are blessed to have a pool and hot tub at this temporary house and loving that!
We LOVE all of the sun!
We are starting to find our way around some and having fun exploring.
The girls have found a cute little coffee house around the corner from our house to escape to.
Clarke likes his new job already and has been warmly welcomed.
We are anticipating friends moving here and several friends visiting in the fall.

 And we KNOW and TRUST that God has a plan and it is good.  And so we are working hard on practicing patience while we wait through this transition.

What better way to wait than do school! ;)  Just ask the boys!  OK, don't ask the boys.  They are not as excited as I am!

But start back to school we did!

Because we homeschool, we do tend to school "year round."  We do school when we can and we take breaks when we need to.  Prior to this move we took a two week break and then the first week here off.  But let's face it, with no house to settle into and no friends yet, we have a lot of spare time on our hands.  We have several things we (read mom) wanted to work on, and we try to always continue forward with math.  Colby is working on Music Appreciation and writing as well, while Salem is doing some summer reading and a Algebra review to prepare to take a CLEP test at the end of the summer.  My only regret is that I did not just bite the bullet and bring their next grade school stuff.  I just did not think that far out.  On several things...but that is a post for Monday!

Regardless, while it is REALLY hot outside, we are spending about 2 hours in the afternoon inside schooling.  It is a nice break and sometimes familiarity is good for the soul.

Trust me, my soul could use some familiarity!


Monday, June 4, 2018

Something's Fishy!

There are times that reviews come at the most perfect time and it makes me giddy!  Such was the case with Something's Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha from The Critical Thinking Co.  Seriously!  We are in the middle of a move and our school schedule has been a bit wonky, so this gem of a product was a perfect fit for when the boys and I had some time here and there to work.

The Critical Thinking Co. has always been a favorite in our house.  Their colorful workbooks and mind challenging products never disappoint.  We have used a few math books, a few deductive reasoning books, and even a few of their computer programs over the years.

Something's Fishy at Lake IwannafishaWe received Something's Fishy by way of a downloadable PDF.  I printed it all out with one easy click of a button and then spiral bound it myself.  I did choose to separate it into two parts so it was easy for us to read the "lesson" part of the program and work on the case without having to flip back and forth too much.

There are instructions for how to print out multiples of specific pages if you choose to do this with a larger group such as a co-op.   Since I used it with just my two boys, we printed one complete copy, but then made each of them responsible for reading separate parts.

So what is Something's Fishy?
It is a Forensic Science detective program.  Geared for grades 5 and up, it is quite challenging.  The case file is presented and the crime scene is described.

The pages following are informational and meant to teach basic forensics that will be needed to solve the case.  Topics cover-
  • Anthropology (determining age, gender, race, height of a person) 
  • Arson
  • Ballistics
  • Counterfeit money
  • Death Investigation (Place of death, time of death, etc.)
  • Forensic Autopsy
  • Document and Handwriting Analysis
  • Fingerprints

How it works-
As you proceed through the case, different elements of the crime are mentioned and then questions are asked.  You begin by filling in investigation notes, describing the evidence and things like where it was recovered and how it might help you solve the case  You also list who you want to interview and why.  Witness interview notes are included as are witness statements and other needed reports.  The next thing to do is fill in several forensic lab reports.  You must reference the information pages to answer the questions and form opinions on the who, what, and whens of the case.

What is neat about this program is your child is in charge.  They must use their brain to determine what questions they want to ask, who they want to interview and what evidence is important.  I imagine that if you did this with 5 different children you would see five different ways they tackled the crime.

Our experience-
As I mentioned, my boys worked on this together.  That was not the original intent.  Colby, our 10 year old, started it alone with me, but our 16 year old soon got interested and joined us.  They took turns reading and writing in answers over a period of several days.  I really thought our favorite part would be the ballistics part of the program, but as it turned out the counterfeit money section piqued their interest and we took a LARGE bunny trail to look up a bunch of stuff on counterfeiting.  The program provided a great website address with tons of information and Salem, our 16 year old, provided the money to investigate.  We remembered we had a black light used for art and were able to see some of the markings on the bills that are not easily seen with the naked eye.

Another part that Colby really enjoyed was the fingerprint section so we spent some time examining our own fingerprints as well.

I will admit that Colby was the first to solve the crime.  He's quick like that!  Doesn't hurt that he read ahead of us a few times as well.  I checked the answer key, and yep, he was correct!

His only complaint with this program was that it did not tell the WHYS of the crime.  Being a detail person like he is he wanted more details...why they did it, and exactly every single step of the timeline.

Note from a fellow mom- I did not think the forensic details in this program were over the top, gory, or inappropriate for kids 5th grade and above.  That being said, do be aware that it discusses a murder case and talks about autopsy details, how to determine when someone died, and processing bones.  If you have a child that may be sensitive to those kinds of details you may want to preview first or skip this altogether.

My sons, especially the youngest, are pretty protected, and the youngest is exceptionally sensitive, but they loved this program.  They viewed it from a scientific and mystery stand point only and never once blinked an eye at the details presented.  If you have a child with an investigative mind who likes a good mystery, they will probably love Something's Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha.

Thanks to our friends at The Critical Thinking Co. for offering this great coupon code to our readers.
Happy shopping!

Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, June 2, 2018

A Quick Catch Up

Loading up!
Welcome to Arizona.

Attitudes are big and patience is small. Ours, not the locals.  They have been lovely.

Poor dogs had a huge space in the car but insisted on laying on top of each other!
My view for THREE days of driving!
Lest you get the wrong idea and think this family is perfect let me quickly correct you. We have had a whirlwind past month (major house staging and packing up, house on the market, sold and unsold, 5 day trip to get college kid, husband's hernia surgery, retirement a week later complete with visits of friends and family and large party, a week of packers and movers, a three day trip to AZ riddled with long days and a overheating truck pulling a car, settling into a rental and house hunting for the next two days and realizing we will be in this house which is not close to where we want to buy at least until the end of July), and we are tired- and prone to being cranky.

Did I forget anything?  Oh yes, now we have two sick kiddos, one of which had to go to an urgent care.

We are taking the weekend off, hunkering down, trying to relax, regroup, and reconnect. We need some down time and it shows.

On the upside, and there is always one when you look for it, we have a pool and hot tub at this AirBNB to enjoy

the sun is always shining

and the area is beautiful!

We have been exploring a bit, founds several areas we really like and even went to a farmer's market today.  Tomorrow we are headed to a local church- hopeful to find a new church to call home and be in fellowship with.

If you think of us, whisper a prayer- moving away from those we love is hard and often lonely.  Being in temporary quarters no where near where will settle adds to the challenge.