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.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A homeschool convention and a DPA win!

But first...this:

Heehee. I saw that on Facebook and it cracked me up. Repeatedly. I mean, really. Sounds reasonable, right? ;)

So this weekend was a big weekend for all of us. Bailey and I were both away from home so the hubs and Braeden had an entire weekend together, just the two of them. As much as we all spend a lot of time together (and we love that), I don't know that they've ever had that much time with just one another. They enjoyed watching movies that I wouldn't watch and eating foods that I wouldn't eat. :D

Where were Bailey and I?

I had an opportunity to work (as a Time4Learning rep) and speak at a largish scale homeschool convention. I've worked a very small convention once before, and had a good time there, but this was really different. Just way more people, way more vendors/exhibitors. It was really cool!

The very first night of the convention, I spoke on being an accidental homeschooler, and a not-so-supermom. Kinda perfect, yeah? I was pretty much on a nerve/anxiety high, lol, and I don't even remember what I said, but even so...I think it went well.

Even outside of my speaking engagement, I talked more than I can ever recall talking in a 3 day period. Like ever-ever, lol. And those that know and love me, know that that's A LOT. What's even crazier than that? People wanted me to talk. People wanted to ask me questions. Hearing just one mom tell me that I was encouraging and inspiring felt amazing, so you can probably imagine how I felt having several moms tell me that. ME?! :D

Me and my fabulously fantastic co-worker at the booth. :) 
Bailey was at his 4H DPA (District Project Achievement) competition. This is the third year he's done this (and duh, every year he enters for cooking something) and guess what? HE WON! First place in his project group! He's on his way to the state competition in July and we couldn't be any prouder.

Even though I couldn't be there, his awesome 4H leader made sure I got a photo of him on stage after his big win. :) 
I'm sure I could go on and on, but I'm going to tap out now, and try to adjust to this stupid time changing thing. Grrr. Lol. Until next time!


Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Year!

photo credit HERE


My whole life, I've always thought February 29th was the coolest day.

I mean...how you not love a day that only happens once every four years? I think the biggest fascination I had with the day was birthdays. When I was younger I really did think you only aged every four years, lol. As I got older, I thought it was way awesome that kids born on 2/29 could pretty much set their own birthdays during the non-leap years. Wanna celebrate in February this year? Okay, 2/28 it is. Want a March birthday this year? Okey dokey, 3/1 for the win. :D

As an adult, I still think it's fun to make a big deal out of the day. My boys played some math games revolving around the extra day (like figuring out how old they would be if they only aged on leap day, calculating how many leap days the average person sees in a lifetime, that kinda thing), and I loved googling some fun scientific and historical facts about the day with them.

Here are some facts that we learned this morning:
  • We would lose 6 hours every year, if we didn't have an extra day every four years.
  • Those leap year babies that fascinate me are called "leapers" or "leaplings."
  • Born on 2/29? There's an Honor Society of Leap Year Babies you can join. Launched in 1997, there are more than 10,000 members worldwide!
Pretty cool stuff. Anyone have any other nifty little bits of info about Leap Year to share? Chime in the comments below! :) 



Saturday, February 13, 2016

A review! - Science4Us and Time4Learning

It's been a while since I've reviewed anything here, so it's time, dontcha think? :)

If you've read any of my posts, like ever, you know we love Time4Learning (our core homeschool curriculum). We've been using the online program in a variety of ways, and for a loooong time. My 11th grader has been with T4L since 2nd grade and my 6th grader has been with it since Pre-K.

Even though we've had no complaints regarding what was available to us and when, I'm excited to talk about one of their newest upgrades. Science! Science has always been a favorite subject around here, and we all wish that this had been available when my boys were at the younger grade levels.

Time4Learning recently partnered with Science4Us to bring more than 300+ K-3 grade elementary science activities to their members. And get this...it's FREE!


Parents can opt in for the S4U material through their parent admin account. Until it's activated, the S4U button on the left is greyed out (like the playground button on the right). But once activated, the button turns colored so kiddos know it's active.

Once they click on the science button, they are taken to their dashboard (specifically for Science...no change in the dashboard for the other T4L activities).



My youngest (yeah, he's older than the program, but he was my reviewer/tester, lol) appreciated being able to work independently and know what has been completed and what's next.

Note the completed activities show a check mark, so he knows he's done with that one...
Even the quizzes are cute and engaging...
Like I said before, we wish this had been available when they were at the K-3 grade levels. It's cute and interactive (which meshes well with the lower level activities in T4L) and ultimately is a great addition to what is already our favorite homeschooling resource. :)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

2016. The year TWO THOUSAND AND SIXTEEN.

It's like...it's the future. ;)

My last break was longer than the break I felt guilty about in my last post. Haha.

Sheesh.

I don't even know where to start with my updates. Life just always moves forward. As it should, yeah?  Things are good with all of us. Work stuffs are actually awesome. The homeschooling stuffs are still great.

Maybe it would be better to just randomly throw out pictures and bits of stuff...

********
Our 3rd Annual Walk to End Alzheimer's. We love being a part of this, every year. Trying to do what we can, no matter how little that is, to fight for an end to what has to be just THE most terrible, devastating illness.




We have always walked for Hazel. This year we walked also for Laura Lee and Pat (Ginger's mom). Laura Lee passed away just after our walk, and Pat had just been diagnosed the week of the walk. Keeping the families of everyone effected by Alzheimer's in our thoughts and prayer, always.


********
The eldest is thisclose to having his license, and has spent a lot more time behind the wheel. Gulp. I don't like having to acknowledge how much older they get. Like, every year. Did you know that happened?! 

Also, at the tender age of 16, he started his own food business. Square Peg Gastronomy. Shameless plug -- pretty please go "like" his Facebook page? ;)  Eventually he wants to own and operate a food truck. He has to start somewhere, so he's been making some noms and selling them locally, at local breweries around town. I'm in awe of him.




********
Meet Artie!

Apparently we are the dog whisperers or something. Whenever doggies show up on our property, they end up staying, lol. This beautiful little guy was terribly mistreated and hurt, then dropped off on our dirt road. :( The wee one immediately bonded with him and they have become buddies. We took him in, got him fixed (awesome way to welcome one into the family, no? har har) named him after one of our favorite characters from Warehouse 13 and he's now the cute, newest addition to our brood. For those that might be keeping count, this is indeed doggie number FIVE.    o.O


********
Zoo Academy

This past fall, the boys started attending a homeschool academy at the zoo. They have some friends that attend too, and so far, it's been a pretty cool experience for them. While the kids are getting their learning on, the moms walk around and catch up and just enjoy the locals. :D

I could share a crap-ton of pics from the zoo, but I'm just going to share two for now. 'Cause cuteness.


********
The hubs turns 40!

My mother-in-law and my sister-in-law did an excellent job of planning a surprise party for his 40th bday this month. Complete with super secret invites to very old friends, and uh...a little glimpse into life after 40. ;)

Surpriiiiiiise!

Walter, through the years. :D

Yep, a potty chair. ;) 

And the Depends for when it's a long walk to said potty chair. HA! :D
The boys and I were also able to pull off a surprise party the following week, for local friends where we are, and at his favorite place to hang out. Southern Brewing Company. Everyone there is always awesome, and they helped with hanging up the banner I had made, as well as making a hilarious sign they put out at the door!

I love this human. This birthday makes twenty of his birthdays that we've celebrated together.  Can't wait to celebrate a gazillion more!

He shares a birthday with The King. And hates this fact. Thought the "Elvis" and Walter's name "in lights" was a fabulous touch. :D


********
Giving up. Going random.

Yeah, I have the attention span of a two year old. I'm tapping out from any sort of structure to the post. Lucky you. Heh. ;)

Here are some others bits from the last few months.

Had an opportunity to go the Opry's 90th birthday bash with some rather lovely humans. :) Saw Carrie Underwood, The Oakridge Boys and some other great acts. Good times. 

Saw George Ezra with some awesome friends. I. Love. His. Voice. Super love even. 

Bailey got a KitchenAid stand mixer. FINALLY. I'm surprised he hasn't named it and tried to carry it around with him everywhere he goes. ;)

Attended my first live showing of Beauty and the Beast. A dear friend invited me and it was absolutely awesome.  We said we were going to see more live shows and we haven't been able to make that happen yet. Methinks that needs to become a priority.

Fitness update! That's the look of someone who felt like a badass right then, lol. This was last month (December). A great run. My longest, with one of my best times!

Good fun over the summer, with this crazy fabulous group of little humans. 

The boys' Dragon Con costumes this year. Don't ask me who they are, I can never remember. Anime something. :D

One of my best Dragon Con moments evah! That's Steve Whitmire and Kermit. K E R M I T! 

Christmas gift from the hubs and my boys. I've wanted a pair of Dr. Martens for forever. They picked out this pair of hot pink patent lamper boots. Perfection. 

Just cause. I adore this dress. And it's a medium. I wouldn't have found something like this when I was a 2XL. ;) 

Helped this little princess celebrate turning 4. Can you tell we love her? And can you tell that she's already aware she's all that? :D 
********
Okay. Whew. That was a lot. Maybe too much, lol. In theory, I'm going to try to get back to the monthly updates. Fingers crossed.

Hope you all have had an amazing start to your 2016!

Until next time...