Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Recently Overheard

There have been quite a few funnies happening around here and I keep trying to remember to write them down....

The morning after the presidential inauguration, I was watching a re-cap on CNN and the crowd was chanting "Yes we can!". Daniel came flying into the family room and jumped up onto the couch, looked at me and said, "where's Bob the Builder?" (The originator of the "yes we can" slogan.)

A couple of days ago, I was grocery shopping with the kids. We always stop by the lobster tank and say hello to the lobsters. The grocer that was behind the seafood counter asked if we wanted any lobster or shrimp. Before I had a chance to answer, Joshua told him, "no thank you, we don't eat that". Which prompted the grocer to look at me funny, but then ask Joshua why not. Without missing a beat Joshua explained that, "those animals eat the garbage from the bottom of the ocean floor, and then when people eat them, they are eating the garbage that the animals ate". I was pretty impressed with his explanation, and apparently the grocer was as well because he said, "I guess I'm not going to be eating any of that anymore."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

I had quite the birthday weekend. I turned 33 on Friday (the 23rd). Grandma and Grandpa offered to watch the kids at their house for the weekend, so Keith and I had a chance to spend some time child-free. I drove over to Clearwater on Friday evening to stay with Keith in the apartment over there. We ate dinner at a fabulous seafood place. The next morning, we went down to Fort Desoto beach. It is so beautiful there. Of course, I didn't bring the camera with me at all this weekend. We had a great time walking and talking on the beach. The fresh air and warm sunshine was very welcoming, especially after our cooler weather we had been having.
Saturday afternoon we drove back over to our house. After being in the minivan for over 2 hours, we enjoyed sitting out back by the pool until it was time to get ready to go out to dinner. We went to Season's 52, since Keith's parents had given us a gift certificate to there for Christmas and we had not had a chance to go yet. Dinner was fantastic. Every meal is under 450 calories and very tasty. Then we had plans to go see a movie, but there didn't seem to be anything playing that we were really interested in. Instead, we walked around the mall and ran into an old friend there. We came home and put in a movie only for us both to end up sound asleep by 9:30pm.
Sunday morning we had plans to meet Keith's parents and the kids up at First Watch for breakfast. Keith decided we should take the motorcycle instead of the minivan. I'm still learning how to be more relaxed on the back of the bike, but truthfully it's a little too outside my comfort zone. It's hard to go from seat belts and airbags to just being out in the open. And the helmet makes my hair weird for the rest of the day.
Overall, it was a great birthday. I didn't take any pictures, so I will leave you with a picture of me from elementary school and last year's Happy Birthday song from the little ones.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Redefining Sick

I just have to brag that this morning I was soooo on top of things. Everyone was up and ready to go and we were at school and work on time. Even with all the extras for a Monday. Megan had to bring her washed nappy stuff with her, Joshua has a drawing notebook that he likes to keep in his backpack for after care and Daniel had picked out some food to bring to school for the food drive the school was holding to celebrate the National Day of Service. I had purchased some canned goods, but also wanted to bring in some crackers or some other type of non-perishable food item that Daniel could physically carry into the building and put in the food box. Publix puts many sale items in the front of the store, so I gave Daniel the option between purchasing boxes of crackers or purchasing cereal since they were in bins right beside each other. He went for the cereal and was pretty proud of his decision. Funny though, it was Apple Jacks, which is a cereal we don't give the kids because of our food sensitivity issue, but later that night, I found out he made the choice for Apple Jacks because there was a Mickey Mouse on the box.

So, off we were in all of our separate directions, and I made it to work early due to the lack of traffic for the MLK holiday. I had an 8-8:30am meeting and was just about to get to work on another project when I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket. It was the health aide from the kids' school telling me to come get Megan. Megan's teacher told the health aide that Megan had a temperature of 99.0. Today being a holiday, I didn't really have too much of an issue with leaving work to get Megan. I got to the school and the health aide was so apologetic about not following up and taking the temperature herself, because Megan's temperature was just fine, Megan's only complaint was that she was sad and tired. I talked gently with the health aide and we discussed what actually warrants a phone call to come home. I think the health aid felt a little foolish when I asked Megan what was the matter and Megan said, "Lindsey and Emma weren't sharing the blocks and it made me cry too hard and I couldn't stop, so I want to go take a nap." I nicely asked the health aid if (as long as it doesn't contradict with the school's policy - which I was silently betting to myself that they don't have one), I'd like for the kids to have a chance to settle down before getting their temps taken. Of course she's going to be warmer if she's just been crying her eyes out being upset about the girls in her class, not to mention it's the first morning of waking up with Daddy gone after having Daddy home for part of the weekend. I didn't want to be a know-it-all, but seriously, 99.0 is not a fever in my mind for my normal healthy kids, especially if Megan's got 2 layers of clothes on and the heat is cranked up because it's below 70 degrees outside and her temp is being taken under her arm. Megan gets a certain look to her when she's sick and when I walked into that school, I knew she wasn't sick.

We went to Einstein's and got some bagels and talked about the mean girls. And I think another issue is that when Daddy goes to work, he goes away. We had to talk about the fact that Mommy isn't going away. I think it makes her nervous to have me working now, too. She's a very nervous Nellie. So we had a special Mommy and Megan breakfast and now she's napping on the couch and when she wakes up, we'll go buy her some much-needed new shoes.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Busy little beavers

We survived our first week of our new routine of me working full time and Daniel attending daycare full time. The big kids now stay in after-school care at the school.

The after-school care is working out well for the big kids. They seem to be enjoying themselves. And most importantly, I don't have to wait in the terrible car pool line in the front of the school.

Daniel is loving his daycare. He calls it his school. His room leader really enjoys having Daniel in her class. She says he makes the funniest faces. I have to agree, he's quite the funny little guy.

It's quite an adjustment to go from staying home to being back at work. I'm doing a totally different type of nursing than I've ever done before. It's very challenging, yet rewarding to combine my past work experience with my new degree and put it all to good use in a leadership position.

We've had a busy week of falling into our new routine. The kids adjusted quite well. Joshua is extremely helpful when it comes time to clean out lunchboxes in the evening. He's been asking to pack his own lunch box. I might let him work on that this coming week.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Beans, beans, the musical fruit...

Wait, are beans really a fruit? That will give me something to ponder during hospital orientation tomorrow morning. The kids love taking turns digging for treasures and sifting around in the dried bean/rice bin. This used to be one of Joshua's favorite activities to do when he was about 4 years old. I used to hide stickers or small shiny stars, and other tiny things in the bin. Then he would fish them out with a pair of tweezers. It's a great pre-writing activity to tone up the fine motor skills of the fingers.

After playing outside most of the day, I pulled out the bean bin to provide a quiet indoor activity. Daniel could have spent the whole day just scooping away.

Death of a Mailbox

Last night, we had a bit of vandalism at our house. A few hours after I put the kids to bed, I heard someone out front in our entryway area, past the front gate. When the motion detecting lights in the driveway went on, 2 people ran away. As I went for the phone to call the police, my neighbor came over ringing the bell to give me the information that I needed to give the police. How on Earth did I get so lucky as to move into another neighborhood with such great neighbors? As it turns out, the vandals jumped onto my mailbox, breaking the post in half. When Joshua was checking it out this morning, he told me that we had termites. He said, "I think those bugs that eat wood have eaten our mailbox post." I thought that was a pretty clever deduction for a 6 year old. I didn't tell him that some punk kids messed with our stuff, because I thought that was too heavy of a burden for him to bear - I don't want him to be afraid in our home.

A Walk in the Park

Daniel wasn't feeling well all day Friday and most of the day Saturday. By the late afternoon, he finally started perking up a bit, so I loaded the crew up for a walk at the park. Grandma and Grandpa met us up there for the last little bit of our walk.The littler kids wanted to bring the strollers to take their baby's for a walk.

I'm not sure when we transitioned from me pushing them in the stroller to them now pushing their own strollers. It makes for a longer walk around the park.

When it got dark, we went up to the shopping center and grabbed some Subway. Daniel was thrilled to much some apples. Joshua was thrilled to eat Daniel's sandwich.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Our Return to Homeschooling

I meant to write about this last night, but got interrupted by a night full of our youngest child vomiting. Yuck.

We've been batting around the decision to return to homeschooling for a few months now. Truthfully, we haven't been thrilled with having the kids back in outside-of-the-home school. There haven't been any huge issues, but a ton of little things that slowly add up to leading us to feel as though we need to take more responsibility in armoring our children before sending them out to the battle. That's what it boils down to - helping our kids build up their strengths.

Some of our plans are still pretty foggy, and we aren't 100% sure about how we are going to pull it off. Keith is pretty excited about the whole thing. With good reason to be, since he'll be doing most of the schooling with the kids. We've gotten a few great suggestions for homeschooling materials and are now wading through all the information.

We used Calvert in the past. We'd like to try something different this time around.

I'm really interested in reading about what other families are using for their kids, whether it be a boxed curriculum or on-line.

When we narrow down our plan, we'll be sure to share it. For now, the kids will finish out the school year at their school. Daniel starts full-time daycare on Monday with a facility that I am very pleased with. I return to work on Monday as a full-time employee for one of the hospitals in our area. This is an important step to secure health care benefits for the family while we transition from being a military family back to being a civilian family.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Game Night and More Changes to our Routine

Joshua has decided that Thursday nights will be game nights. With all of our big changes going on, the kids now have a longer day at school and aftercare. So with just a few precious hours together in the evening, Game Night seems like a great use of our time.
We got Joshua the game Blokus for Christmas. We tried it out tonight and it was an instant hit. Megan couldn't quite get it, but Joshua was all over it. It really is the kind of game that's right up his alley.

Keith and I are now researching our homeschool options for the kids next year. We're both really excited about teaching the kids together. We'll be teaching Joshua 1st/2nd grade and teaching Megan Kindergarten.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Saturday Night Children's Program

Saturday night we went to a children's program that was taking place while Grandma and Grandpa were at a banquet for Grandpa's work. The program was fun. The clown was really enjoying herself going around making balloon creations for the kids.

After the clown, the science guy was ready to start his show. He did quite a few really cool experiments with the kids.

It got a little wild in there, as there were many kids that just weren't able to control themselves. When Joshua started crying because he wasn't chosen to ride on the hover craft, I decided it was time to go. We are trying to find the right way to deal with the crying from Joshua. We've noticed that it is starting to become manipulative...not just crying because he's disappointed, but crying because he knows that the other grown-ups in the room are going to jump through hoops to ensure that he enjoys himself. I guess Keith and I have an unusual view on that. We feel as though we provide the opportunity to have a great experience and it's up to Joshua to enjoy it. If he's crying or trying to manipulate the situation, then it's time to go. I know it's not the popular train of thought among our peers, and sometimes it makes it really hard to follow through. We follow up with plenty of cuddles and discussions about emotions and that it's okay to feel sad, disappointed, unhappy, angry, etc. Boys are sooo complex.

Lunch with the Cirigliano Family

Whew, I'm still catching up from the weekend. After church, we had the pleasure of sharing our lunch table with the Cirigliano family. I don't think I've seen them since Amy and Joe got married about 9 years ago. Now, between the two of our families there are SIX adorable kiddos! The Holloways and Ciriglianos hanging out on the porch in the swings.
Megan and Sophia. I was coming back up the stairs with Daniel and Megan and Sophia were checking out the pictures hanging in the hallway.

Aren't they cute? They look like they could be brothers. I really should have gotten Daniel in this picture, too, since he was also wearing an argyle sweater.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Friday afternoon last week, Grandma and Grandpa took us to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. It was pretty warm and loud in there, so I was glad we were planning on hanging out for just a couple of hours. Each of the kids took a turn at making a flat penny.

They are really into the flat pennies. We also made some flat pennies at Stone Mountain.

This museum was chosen because of Daniel's love for dinosaurs. He loved seeing the huge dinosaurs in the main exhibit hall.

There was a really cute Arctic animal exhibit filled with polar bears and penguins. Each of the kids took turns on the penguin slide.

Daniel didn't want to go down face first. He knows our rule about feet first on the slides!

Here are some shots of the huge dinosaurs.

Saying Good-bye

Friday morning, after breakfast, it was time to say good-bye to everyone. Micheal, Joshua and Alex. Joshua had a wonderful time with his cousins.
The boys and Kyle.

Megan with Kennedy and Lexy. These 3 girls were so cute together! Isn't it fantastic to go on vacation and find instant play-mates?

Not a good-bye picture, but still a nice snuggling with Grandma picture.

Daniel hanging out with Grandpa.

Another walk around the resort

On Friday morning, everyone else was packing up to go, so I took the kids for another walk around the inside of the resort.


New Year's Day, the entire family had family pictures made. Then we retreated to the banquet hall for a nice dinner. The girls were all eager to sing Happy Birthday, even though they had no idea who they were singing to. The song got to the Happy Birthday, dear... and they went silent. It was a touching moment to sing Happy Birthday to their late Great-Grandpa.

We were given medals to remember the Holloway Family Reunion.

After a delicious dinner, we all retreated back to the suite to hang out until bedtime.

Top of Stone Mountain

On New Year's Day, Daniel woke up not feeling very well. He walked over to Keith's step-sister, Ami and told her "my froat's not working". Grandma offered to hang onto Daniel for the day, so Keith and I took the big kids to the top of Stone Mountain.
Back before we had kids, Keith and I climbed to the top of the mountain. This time, with the kids we rode in the sky lift to the top of the mountain.Megan is seriously the most beautiful little person I've ever seen. I realize I might be partial.

The top of the mountain is very uneven. Megan kept tripping on the surface.

It was chilly and windy, but so well worth it! The view from the top was fantastic. The clear skies made for great visibility.

We took the sky rail back down the side of the mountain. It was a welcome shield from the wind and gave another spectacular view of the carving on the side of the mountain.

Later that day, Daniel fell asleep on Daddy's lap while watching football, so I brought him down to our room for a nap in the big bed.