Friday, December 30, 2011


Yay, more pictures! This is like...twice. In the SAME month. Whoa... ;)

One of my oldest and dearest friends, Katie and my "niece" Mariska with the Build-A-Bear dachshund the boys made her for Xmas. :)

Aunt Katie and Uncle Mike - who wasn't there because he is stationed overseas right now :( - got the boys an Xbox game they have really been wanting!

Bailey and my mom, in the kitchen. Even though she was sick, she spent a lot of time cooking for our dinner. Bailey helped her make SIX pies! :)

My dad, with the boys and my niece Brooklyn.

The boys love playing pool when they visit...

My little brother, Joey, helping Braeden out...

Brooklyn LOVED opening gifts! Once they were opened however, she was very willing to hand them over to someone else so she could continue ripping into other presents! :)

The boys got a few gifts from my parents, but this Skylanders game was #1 on both of their wish lists this year! Braeden accidentally (yes, it really was an accident, lol) saw this when we were down at Thanksgiving and he kept this secret for a whole month so Bailey could still be surprised! :)

My brother's better half, Emily.

The boys and Nanny. She loved her Thirty-One zipper pouch they got her, with them and her three puppies on there! :)

Excitement over yet another video game. But...they only got the three, so I'm ok with that. :)

Braeden and his new iPod touch he got from Mommy and Daddy. I love sleepy faces... :)

Bailey and his new iPod touch... :)

The boys and their gifts that Q (he is the one in the corner of the pic) handmade for them! Minecraft stuffs...

This pic is one of my favorites! All 4 of the boys got iPods this year and while we were waiting to eat at Tracy's parents house, we saw all of them staring down at their new gadgets. It cracked us up! 

Tracy's parents got the boys Best Buy gift cards, which they loved. You can also see the Invader Zim shirts that Tracy's boys got them. :)

We had more pictures of our evening at Tracy's, but my camera was doing some weird, spotty, light-reflecting thing and I don't know why. So all of my pictures had spots on them. I will see if I can get a few from Tracy and I will post those later.

Can't believe we are closing out 2011 this weekend. Nuts. We will have a house full of peeps celebrating with us and we are thankful that we can close out one year and start a new one, with some of those that mean so much to us!

Hope everyone has fun, but SAFE weekend!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Can't believe it's Christmas already...just seems like I missed a couple, or seven, months somewhere, lol.

We stayed busy this week, I am very proud of the boys and myself for sticking with the baking we needed to do. We always say we want to give baked goodies for the holidays. Most years we even buy all the stuff we need. Then we just end up running out of time and give up before we even start. But this year we set our minds to it and got everything done. It took about 2 and half days to do it all, and we needed Nanny's help, but it was done and the boys were SO happy to hand out and gift their goodies to everyone.

We had several gatherings and enjoyed each and every one of them. Lots of smiles and laughter! We are so blessed to have the family and friends that we have. Even with the craziness of trying to be everywhere, and see everyone, all in one was awesome.

Since we finally have a camera (and took more than 300 photos in the last few days, lol) I will have pictures to share later in the week. Honestly, I am exhausted right now. When we travel anywhere, we have a horrible habit upon returning home. We make it as far as the dining room table with all of our stuff and it sits there for days. But I need to really get everything put away and cleaned up before our NYE gathering here next weekend!

The boys got quite a few gadgety gifts and games, and they are looking forward to getting everything set up and to start playing with them all. Unfortunately, even though we are on a school break, they are going to have to compromise with me. If they want to spend an afternoon playing new video games or playing on their new iPods and tablets, they are going to have to spend a little time in the mornings playing some games that I want them to play. Learnin' games. ;)

My kids are so much like me, that they can get completely consumed in games and the point that when they stop playing, they have this blank look on their faces like " what do I do with my life?" Lol. To break that up, we institute a tit for tat thing. For every hour they give me with educational games, they can have a couple of hours for the noneducational stuffs. :D

Normally it's not an issue. They really do enjoy the games sites that we use, but I know it's going to tough for a few days with all of the new stuff they want to play with. They will probably stick with the easy stuff, like typing games and art games. Hopefully they will squeeze in some spelling and math...

Alrighty. Off to pick up my baby from the vet (we have to board our bigger baby when we travel, but fortunately, Nanny keeps our two little babies). Then to run by the grocery store, so I can get some food to break up the leftovers. :/

Look for some photos in a few days. Have a great week and enjoy the last of 2011!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Don't freak out or anything...

...but I have photos to share. Photos that I didn't have to thieve from Tracy!

I know! Makes you wonder if Hell just placed a bulk order for parkas, don't it? ;)

These are just a few of the photos from that parade I told you about in my last post...the one where I said words can't really describe it...

I just love the little Shriner cars. :)

A giant, and street ready, Radio Flyer wagon. We actually see this on the roads during the holidays, lol.

The loooong line of tractors...

I don't suppose a caption is really needed for this one... ;)

The line of "Newer Big Trucks"...

...then later, the line of "Older Big Trucks." Yes, that's how they are categorized. 

The hunters. They get their own group, lol.

This one actually had hydraulics. And it bounced. BOUNCED.

This was cute!

"Huh. We'll just make our own damn reindeer." :D

See? NO. WORDS. 

We laughed. A lot. And it was a great day. Not being from the country, this parade probably makes me go "wth?" more than anything, but you have to appreciate people enjoying themselves!

We are busy baking cookies this week. Hopefully by the end of the week, I will have pictures to post of that too! :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

And the countdown has begun!

Before I share about our week this week, I want to direct people to an article. Let me preface this by saying I'm not shoving this down the throat of any public schoolers. I have, nor will I ever, bash or judge those that send their children to public school. I don't think those people are weird, or cult-like, or that they don't want the same things for their children that I do. We just go about things a little differently.

I found this article on a friend's Facebook page and had to share it. I hate standardized tests. I would go so far to say that I abhore them. I don't believe those test results can tell you anything about a child, other than whether or not a child can test well under pressure. I can't even limit my blanket dislike to just standardized tests. It's all tests. I want my children to study to learn. To remember what they read about and worked on. To enjoy the learning process. I don't want them to study to test, then forget half of what they learned once the test was over.

Ok, back to that article. Here it is: When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids

With homeschool statistics showing us that more and more families are making the decision to homeschool, and more and more colleges and universities are accepting homeschoolers (even from those states where testing is not required by homeschool laws), I'm exceedingly happy that I don't have to put so much emphasis on testing around here.

Alrighty then. Just wanted to throw that out there. Now back to our regularly scheduled program. :D

This past week was good for us. I finished my Christmas cards AND got them in the mail in an appropriate time frame. We took the boys to see Arthur Christmas and really enjoyed it. They did their Toys for Tots shopping, and thanks to a GREAT Nerf sale at Target, we dropped $100 worth of Nerf toys, and two board games, in the local TfT box. The best, BEST part of that whole experience was walking out of Target and both of the boys telling us that they loved the feeling they had inside, knowing that they bought so much cool stuff for kids they didn't even know. I was so proud of them!

Other than that, the boys have been liking their "sloth days." All is well...

This coming week starts the countdown to Christmas. No, not so much emphasis on the gifts as just the pure craziness that is our life at Christmas, lol. We have four separate occasions to gather and celebrate. It's nice, but time consuming and very filling, lol, as we eat with everyone we see.

This week we are going Christmas caroling twice; with the Scouts and with our homeschool group. We are so looking forward to that! We are also doing some holiday baking for the first time. The boys decided that they wanted to make cookies for everyone this year. So we are going to attempt to make a gazillion dozen cookies. No, not really that many. At least I hope not. But I'm sure it's going to feel like that, lol...remember I don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen. :/

This week the boys won't really have a lot of time to do much, but they expressed an interest in Hanukkah, so we are going to try and learn something new about the Jewish holiday on each of the eight days. So instead of eight days of gifts, they will get eight days of holiday facts. :) The site we use for our homeschool spelling curriculum (yep..shameless plug, lol) has some Hanukkah word lists. I probably won't make them test on the words, but they can use the lists for game play.

Today we are finishing the last of our shopping. The boys wanted to make their two new cousins a Build-A-Bear as a gift (it's a tradition for new wee additions to the family that started when we made Bailey - now 12 - his first one when he was born!) so we are taking care of that. And then grocery shopping. Blech.

Tomorrow the boys are in a Christmas parade with the Scouts. We finally got our new camera so hopefully I will have photos to post! I can't describe this parade. Honestly. No words. So you guys will have to see the photos to understand why, lol. It's a country parade. Everything from high class floats to decorated lawn mowers and tractors (nope, not kidding) are in the parade. AND...people actually travel from out of state to see this. It's in the middle of nowhere! Not even a gas station. Nothing.  And yet it's the most anticipated holiday event of the season for some. So freaking weird.

Ok. That was long. Too long. Hope some of you actually made it to the end. ;) I hope everyone has a splendid week!

And in case I don't get to say before next weekend, we wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, December 9, 2011

This Week...

I don't have a lot to say this week...funny, huh? The hubs and I were introduced the to TV show "The Big Bang Theory" this week, and have completely fallen in love with it. I honestly cannot remember the last time we have both laughed so hard, and so often, because of a 30 minute sitcom! I have already gotten seasons 1-4 and I expect we will blow through them at an alarming rate, lol.

We are almost done with our Christmas shopping which is pretty astounding. Usually I'm scrambling on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, my neurosis are kicking in and rather than enjoying myself because I'm just about finished, I spend my days fretting and worrying about whether I have forgotten something/someone. *Sigh* At least I provide laughter for my family and friends with my crazies. :D

The boys are still on break. Yep, the flexibility of homeschooling really IS mucho fabulous. Bailey has finally almost finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy and will begin reading the Eragon trilogy by Christopher Paolini. He has been wanting to read those since he saw the movie, but his excitement about them really grew when he found the books on (the site we went to, to find books by homeschoolers) and he discovered the author was homeschooled. Since he likes to dabble in creative writing, this is very motivating for him.

Braeden is still working on reading The Polar Express. He really wants to finish it because he wants to watch the movie (No, we haven't seen it before. Crazy, I know.) and we won't watch until he's done.

This weekend the boys are doing their Toys for Tots shopping. They have made lists of things they want to give children, and are super excited about finally buying off of that list. After that, we are hitting a Build-A-Bear because the boys want to make one for each of their cousins, Brooklyn and Mariska. Aside from printing out photos and placing them in frames (of which I have already purchased, go me!), and picking up a couple of gift cards, that will wrap up our holiday shopping.

How. Weird.

That means next week, there is a small chance I will finish up my Christmas cards and get them out, kinda on time even...but then what the heck will I do with my time? ;)

Hope errbody has a fantastic week!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Christmas Parade!

We participated in the Athens Parade of Lights for the first time on Thursday and we had a great time! The boys got to ride on a float with the other Masters Academy children and they really enjoyed that. The theme of the float was "Hot Chocolate" so they got to hold giant forks with giant marshmallows on the end, and giant spoons to stir the cocoa. While they handed out candy like other parade participants, they also handed out packs of hot cocoa mix, lol. Everyone was color coordinated so the kids all was so cute! Of course, I only have a couple of photos that I took with my phone (and honestly I'm actually only using one of those, lol, the rest I stole from Tracy's facebook!), but when I get some pics from Tracy, I will try and post more photos. As a side note...we have a new camera coming, so hopefully this means my picture taking skills will improve. Maybe. Hopefully maybe. ... :D

Bailey and Braeden, on the float and waiting to start!
Q and Z, putting on some finishing touches...
Tracy and Scott, trying to stay warm. I'm not sure what Scott is doing...guessing his beard was cold? Heh...
The hubs and I. We couldn't believe how cold it was, especially considering that we were wearing shorts just a week ago!
This appealed to my inner's the 501st! We were surprised to see a legion in the Athens parade, lol...
So on to this week's plans...

I am working on my Christmas cards. I will be working on said Christmas cards until probably just after Christmas, lol. Ah well, it'll be like prolonging the excitement of the season, right? ;) The boys are planning on watching holiday movies on Netflix all week. Yes, really. I'm hoping they will continue with their reading (so far, so good) and I might be able to work in some spelling games. I'm sure there will be Christmas crafts at some point this week as well. The last couple of years, they have enjoyed making ornaments for our tree, and ornaments for family and friends.

Sometime later in the month, we will start on some little mini-studies we are wanting to do, to learn about other winter holidays and celebrations. We do celebrate Christmas, but one of the great things about homeschooling is we can do and study what we want. :) We don't use a Christian homeschool curriculum, or attend a church, but we are Christian in faith (shocking, I know, lol!) and celebrate as such. But we don't have to be Jewish to learn about Hanukkah, or Pagan or Wiccan to read about celebrating Yule. I like exposing the boys to different opinions/theories/beliefs. They can get a little understanding (and in a perfect world, understanding brings acceptance) of how other families and children celebrate this time of year. To be honest, I'm looking forward to what I'm going to learn, by helping them learn.

Not a lot else going on. I plan on watching one of my MOST favorite holiday movies this weekend (only the first time of many this holiday season, I assure you). National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I love that ridiculous movie, lol! I will probably quote it all month long....

At some point, I have to finish shopping. Every year, I am buying something on Christmas Eve. Hear's hoping that's one tradition I can break this year!

Anyone else still have a lot of shopping to do?