Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Fall is my favorite.

Yep. That's me! When I was younger, I always liked spring. It was so nice when it would start to get warmer, and everything would bloom.

Then I found out I was allergic to everything that bloomed, lol. And in GA, "starts to get warmer" means the temps go from 65 to 95, in what feels like one day. Wasn't bad when you're a wee kiddie. But as I got older, I did a 180 and realized that what I really looked forward to, was fall.

This fall is super exciting so far. My oldest's food business is doing really well, thanks in large part to working with an amazing local charity. This past Saturday, he made his first trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains for a Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer event. It was held at Grumpy Old Men Brewing, which was a terrific little place with a great crowd!

Playing with the dry erase markers is really the only contribution I can make, lol. 

My 3 most favorite humans in the history of ever, working together. :) 

When we wasn't helping his brother, the wee one enjoyed keeping me entertained. :D
Coming up this Saturday we've got another BBBC event, but we're staying closer to home. We'll be hanging at our favorite local brewery, The Southern Brewing Company. Good times.

What else is happening this fall? Mostly, I'm running. Gonna feel a little like Forrest Gump, me thinks. On Sunday, I'm running the PNC 10 Miler.

Yeah. That's 10 miles. MILES. What the heck am I thinking?!

That's not even the craziest thing I'm doing. Provided I don't die during the 10 miler (kidding, not kidding, lol), Thanksgiving Day will find me running the Atlanta Half Marathon.

Whaaaaaaat?!?! ;)

The boys have a good bit of 4H stuff over the next few weeks. Braeden will have his first Junior weekend overnight thingy, which he's excited about. They both are doing DPAs and have to have their portfolios completed by the beginning of December. I suck at this, but thankfully their 4H coordinator is awesome and works her butt off for all of the 4Hers. Even with all of her effort, it still takes us weeks to get everything together, so that will be a concentrated effort until those portfolios are turned in.

That's about it for now. I need to go put away laundry. Thankfully, I can do that to music. In what I can only describe as "Braeden's way," Braeden has gotten me hooked on a supahfun new satellite radio station. Caliente (which is described as Tropical Latin Music Hits). He has loved his online Spanish language course, and found that station hoping to listen for and recognize words he's learned. He cracks me up. But I will say that the station is terrific. I love to dance, and Latin music = dancing. Your body almost can't help itself. Moves without thinking. ;)

Okey dokey. Leaving you with this, because as much as I love pumpkin, there's something else that I like so much, I feel it in my soul.

Minter. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Stress level = maximum.


This happened. 

Yeah. My first born got his license.  

I knew it was going to be hard, but watching him drive away on his own that first time? To be honest, there is NO amount of wine that can calm those nerves, lol. He's very responsible and has no desire to be driving all the time though, so at least there's that. 




Ok, fine. I know I'm not the first or only mama that's gone through this. Moving on. 

That's really about all that's happened since last we spoke. The boys are in full swing with their fall schedule (art, nature science, 4H), so we're always on the road. Even with Bailey driving, there are some classes that I still take them to, because I take care of other errands while they're in class. As always, I'm so thankful that their homeschool curriculum is so flexible. Some days they log in before we leave the house, some days they don't get a chance to log in until the evening. Yay for slacker flexibility. ;) 

Before I leave, I want to give a shameless plug for my kiddo's business, Square Peg Gastronomy. The fall is a great time for him. His weekends are already full - two different events are coming up with Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer which we're super excited about. It's a wonderful group of people, doing good and trying to make a difference. With my grandmother wrapping up her radiation treatment (breast cancer diagnosis earlier this year, already been through chemo), this cause is especially important to us now. Outside of those, he's planning on selling at some other local venues. 

Funny how that sheltered, unsocialized homeschooler (insert sarcasm, in case you missed that) has managed to start his own business and make some pretty amazing contacts in our community, huh? :P

There is no real reason for this one. But I can't stop giggling. We've already blown through Stranger Things twice and we pretty much agree with the doggy regarding Steve and Jonathan. Ha! 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Stuffs and things...

Once again, I lose an entire month. August came. And August went. 

So what happened in August? Stuffs and things. 

This wasn't in August, it was at the end of the July, but Bailey got to attend 4H State Congress. This was a really big deal for him, and he got to go after winning 1st place at his regional DPA. Even though he didn't place at state, he had a terrific time, and it was an amazing experience for him. Plus, he gets another chance to go next year (if you win at state, you don't get to compete again as they consider it as you have "mastered"). 

My boy, in the news! ;) 

Was fortunate enough to see Def Leppard and REO Speedwagon with some lovely ladies. It was SO much fun! 

Oh yeah - I have a 17 year old and a 12 year old. 

What? When? How? 

I mean, yeah, of course I know how. But the, that's the tough part. I'm pretty sure it was just yesterday that each them were wee little babies. Now one is grown (close enough to grown ), and the other is on the cusp of the dreaded teen years (actually not dreaded, Bailey has yet to go through the stereotypical teenage angsty years, no reason to think Braeden will). I really, truly can't wait to see to who these guys become as they can get older, but my heart just aches when I think of how much time has passed. 

Bailey age 3 months / age 17. 

Braeden age 1 day / age 12.
That's about it for August, really. We are getting ready to start their next school year. Normally, from year to year, nothing changes too drastically. We've been with Time4Learning for so long, and it's still working for us, so there's no need to change it up. BUT - this year, we are adding something new to their curriculum, and we're so excited about it! Time4Learning just announced Time4Languages, an online language learning add-on. Woot! Spanish for Braeden and French for Bailey.  

Alrighty. I'm out. Hope everyone will join me in my "bring on the fall" chants... ;)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Peachtree Road Race

If you live in Georgia, you're more than likely aware of the Peachtree Road Race. Heck, even if you aren't from GA you may have heard of it...people come from all over to participate in the world's largest 10K.

Approximately 60k people come to run, jog, walk, wheel, parade through the ATL. This year was the PRR's 47th annual race. While a select few come to really race (several thousand dollars in prize money, plus the prestige of being the PRR winner), most of the people continue to participate because it's tradition. You get up at the butt crack of dawn, you sweat until you feel like you're hanging out in Satan's arse, you high-five a gazillion strangers, you pick up your coveted shirt and you head home for Independence Day festivities and foooooood.

Two years ago, the thought of me doing anything other than driving a 6.2 mile stretch was non-existent. I had just started my weight loss journey that summer and thought walking 2-3 miles, at what I now recognize was more of a stroll, was a big accomplishment. In all honestly, two years ago that was an accomplishment. As time progressed, I walked a little further, walked a little faster. Eventually I completed the couch to 5K program and in May 2015, mostly ran and completed my first 5K.

For whatever reason, once I realized that I could run, even if at a snail's pace, I set my eyes on the Peachtree. I had always heard about it, and it looked like fun. So back in January, I joined the Atlanta Track Club (to guarantee my spot in the race...didn't want to rely on the lottery) and on March 1, I registered for the 2016 PRR.

To say the experience was amazing, would be the biggest understatement evah. Absolutely incredible. From the start to the end, every single part was astounding to me. I wish I had thought about taking more pictures, but I was so focused on not dying, I didn't pull out my phone once I started. The event was code red, or whatever they call it. Basically, conditions were hazardous because of the heat and humidity. They weren't kidding. I have never sweat like that. EVER.

Anyway, people lined the streets to cheer us on, encourage us, and give high-fives and fist bumps. If there were 60k participants, there were probably twice that many spectators! It was the most inspiring thing....for that hour and 40 minutes (yep, that's how long it took me. nope, not ashamed. two reasons...I didn't die and there were 11,000 people that finished after me so I wasn't last, lol!) I truly believed that *I* was inspiring. That *I* was amazing. I can't say that I've ever felt like that before.

Here are a handful of photos that I did get.

My wave, getting ready to cross the start line.
Just before I got in line. 
After the finish!

My coveted shirt.
I will admit, without shame, that the probability of my wearing this shirt every day for the next week, is high. 

Ok, not directly related to my run, but aren't these cool?! Mizuno did a custom design of their Wave Rider 19, just for the Peachtree! I had to go to a fitness expo to pick up my bib over the weekend, before the race. When I saw these there, I naturally had to have them.
I'm sure you've heard enough about this now. I know, I go on and on. But for reals...fabulous experience that I can't wait to repeat.

What else has been going on around here? Not a lot to be honest. Bailey has been away all summer, either at a 4H function, or working a summer job in the kitchen at scout camp. I've not seen him much, and I hate it. He's having fun though. So it's all good. Braeden and I have gone to a movie, gone bowling and he's starting to run with me, so we're getting in some good time together.

As much as I'm a gadget junkie, I have totally embraced this paper planning thing. Started out in Moleskine doing bullet journaling. Next, tried a small ringed binder planner. Kinda a mix of a traditional calendar and bullet journaling. Thennnn (I know, I'm sick, I need to stop trying all the things) I decided to use an excellent coupon to try out a Happy Planner. Which has turned into an eclectic mix of traditional planner, bullet journal, and memory keeping. Who knew I would have so much fun with it all. Since I have a new appreciation for the analog, I'm also trying to work in some paper homeschool planners. I don't want to plan their lessons/activities necessarily, since T4L does that for me. But to put on paper their extras, and their strengths/weaknesses -- could be cool. We'll see if I can stick to that too. :)

Until next time...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A litte bit of everything...

It's been a little while, and while I know I have a lot to say, my brain isn't going to function enough to let me put it all in any kind of understandable order. Bloodline season two dropped this weekend, and I've got some Netflixing to do.

So, let's do the random photo thing! :D

It's meeeeee!
You know we're on vacation when we eat ice cream as a meal and I remember to put sunscreen everywhere...or almost everywhere. :/

Braeden - Florida 2016

Bailey - Florida 2016

Saw this on the interwebs after Prince died. I chuckled whiiiiile kinda sorta weeping. 

Obligatory beach selfie.

My goofball boys. 

The hubs and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. 

The vacay crew, at our most favorite place to get grubs. Meg O'Malley's. 
My Teagan. She had a horrific encounter with another dog, a fence and a collar. Staples and stitches, in the 3 digits (not posting pics of the injuries, cause icky).    :(
After she had the drains in her neck removed, we had to wrap her ears and neck so she should wouldn't shake and scratch and we could NOT get a cone of shame on her. 
My beautiful girl, right after all the staples and stitches were removed (just a few days ago, as of this post). There are some areas we have to watch, and she has some fluid pockets that we're keeping an eye on, but she's been healing so well! :) 
My boys! This was just this week...they each won 4H'er of the year awards, Braeden at the cloverleaf level and Bailey at the senior level.

I think that's about it. Or rather, that's all the photos I had on my phone, lol.

This summer is SO packed for my guys!

Braeden is attending 4H summer camp and has a few 4H summer classes that he's signed up for. He will wrap up his school year sometime in June, and in July I'm hoping to have him take a middle school writing class. Fingers crossed that happens as planned.

Bailey is having all of his wisdom teeth cut out, is teaching a 4H class, has TWO state level 4H competitions to attend (they are really the same event, but broken up into two parts) aaaaand decided that he was going to take a job in the kitchen at scout camp this summer.   o.O

I bought a paper planner to try and keep up with all of this. A. Paper. Planner. Those that know and love me, understand why this is noteworthy. I hate paper planners. But my trusty phone calendar wasn't helping me remember it all. Boo. Let's hope the new planner does actually become a helpful tool, rather than a fancy schmancy doodle pad. :D

Ok. Tapping out. Remember that whole Bloodline/Netlfix thing? That neeeeds to happen now. ;)

Until next time...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Trip and a Birthday

So far, April has been a big month! The first week I was so super fortunate to be able to spend the entire week at my corporate offices in Ft. Lauderdale. I work from home, but I genuinely love my co-workers, so being able to spend so much time in the office with them was amazing. It was both productive AND fun. ;) 

This was only the 2nd time I've been able to take a trip by plane. The last time I flew (which was last year to Ft. Lauderdale, lol), I sat in the middle. I didn't mind that because I was glad to be sandwiched in between two people (one of whom was my friend and boss-at-the-time) for that very first take off and landing. Eased my nerves a teeny bit. 

For this trip though, I had a window seat! That made me a little anxious on take off, just watching the ground get farther and farther away, but once we were up, it was fabulous! I loved the views and just being able to appreciate how lovely everything is. 

On the way down to FL--

On the way back to the ATL --

I will say it a thousand times, but I LOVE the people at Time4Learning. I've been lucky enough to work for them for almost 6 years. Even luckier to have been using their curriculum in our homeschool for almost 10 years! Good peoples. :) 

Moving on...

Yesterday was my birthday! I'm like a child. I love telling people it's my birthday and I love getting birthday wishes. Every year, lots of thanks are given that I made it to another one. :D 

There wasn't any big party plans (which I'm okay with), but we did get to spend the day with a great group of people. Coincidentally, yesterday was Dragon Con's annual volunteer appreciation day, and it was held at Stone Mountain. Food, hiking up the mountain, and hanging with friends. All capped off with reserved seating for the Laser Show. Fun stuff! 

We hiked to the top of Stone Mountain...this incredible was totally worth it!
Family photo at the top. :)
Our seats for the Laser Show.
How cool is it that they threw the DC logo on the mountain at the start of the show?!

We are leaving tomorrow for our annual beach trip with our friends. Two weeks in the sun and sand. It don't suck. ;) 

Boys mostly have a pass on school since there is no wifi at our beach house. The hubs and I use our phones for hot spots to work, but I don't want to use the data on school, so they will do some printable worksheets (yep, even at Bailey's age/grade I can find worksheets that are at grade level appropriate) and they will do some hands on stuff (experiments, field trips, etc). 

That's about it for now. I have to pack. PACK. Ugh. I super suck at that. Inevitably, we have to buy something that I left behind every. single. year. 

Leaving you with this awesome birthday gift that Braeden drew for me. A unicorn that's farting rainbows. Yeah, he's definitely mine. :D 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

I’m not really an average homeschooler, and that’s okay

For those that have hung out here a while, you know who I am. This post isn't anything new, but I wanted to do an introductory (of sorts) post on Medium and this is what I wrote. Putting it here too, for those folks who check in regularly. :) 

This was our holiday family photo. Nope, not Santa. Taken with Krampus, at a local craft brewery!

Even though homeschooling is becoming far more mainstream and accepted more than ever, non-homeschoolers still tend to envision homeschoolers in a certain stereotyped way.
Do we all have a “classrooom” at home, complete with chalk boards, and neat little desks? Uh…no. Do we all make, and more importantly follow, a rigid schedule for our day? Nope again.
Want a glimpse of a different type of homeschooler?
Not only do we not have a classroom, my boys have been known to do school while wearing a minecraft cube on their head, or using their tablet while lying upside down on the sofa. My 11 year old thinks I’m punishing him when I tell him he has to wear pants. Hell, sometimes I think *I’m* being punished when I have to put on pants (Editor’s note: by “put on pants,” I mean put on something other than PJs).

Working on his Time4Learning, on tablet. Yes, he can see. There are eye holes. He said it was comfy.

We own a TV (this is a thing with a lot of homeschoolers, many claim they don’t own one). In fact, every room in the house has one. And we watch them. A LOT. We love cheesy Sci-Fi shows. British TV is some of the best. We record and binge no less than a dozen “prime time” shows. No shame.
Here’s where I really branch off from what you may picture in your head when you hear that I’m a homeschooling parent.
I have short and often times brightly colored hair. I turn 39 next month and honestly could not tell you the last time I saw my natural hair color. I know it’s a shade of brown, that’s about it.
I have a dozen tattoos, and have started gauging my ears. We even let our boys (currently ages 11 and 16) pierce their ears (both ears, both boys). They also enjoy neon colored hair every now and then, and my 16 year old already knows what tattoo he is going to get the day he turns 18. Yep, I’m okay with that.
I swear. All the time. I try to shield it from people that I know find it offensive. I try really hard to curb it around children. But when I can, I’m fairly prolific with it, lol. The “F” word is my most favorite word in the history of ever. Why? It’s a verb. An adverb. An excellent adjective. Basically, just a fun, all purpose word.
Dresses and denim jumpers? Haha. Let’s try jeans and Doc Martens.
I’m comfortable with my faith, and with the fact that it’s a personal thing. I don’t go to church (gasp!) and really dislike organized religion.
Lesson plans? Fuhgetaboutem. Not going to happen. I use an online homeschool curriculum, and have for almost 10 years. The boys enjoy using it and it lets me continually work on my slacker persona. Win-win.
Having pointed out all of these differences, what do I have in common with many stereotypical homeschoolers? I want my kids to learn in an environment that isn’t harmful to them, either physically or emotionally. I want them to learn at their speed, and progress at a pace that is comfortable for them, rather than progress at the exact same rate as 30 other children, all with different learning abilities. I want them to pursue their passions and succeed.

Doing school while wearing an Anime costume wig. Just cause.

I recently had an opportunity to speak at a homeschool convention. It was terrifying for me, but after I was done, I felt amazing. So many moms thanked me for admitting that I have zero organizational skills and that I usually have no idea what I’m doing, but despite that, my boys are doing well. They’re doing great even.
Ten years ago, it would have been awesome to have another homeschool mom tell me that they felt like they sucked, but their kids were okay. I guess that’s what this post is for me. A way to say that to other moms.
Chances are, you don’t really suck at this. You’ll homeschool your way and it will work.
Your. Kids. Will. Be. Fine.