Friday, January 23, 2015

A Secret

I have a secret. Its really not that big of a secret but its not something I feel the need to tell everyone. You see... this secret is something that people are always totally opinionated about.
Here it is... Deep breath.
Im homeschooling my kids!
 Ok now its your turn to take a deep breath. I know not everyone agrees with this choice. I think about 4 people outside of our family (and most of our family doesn't even know) actually know about this little secret and I have already received a nice lecture or two about how my kids will fall behind and that it will be so hard for me to integrate them back in to public school if we ever choose to do that and of course the whole "social" thing.
I know. I know. I know. Trust me. I have seriously consider EVERY aspect of this. Including ones that aren't actually aspects but more of  "what if" kinds of situations. Homeschooling has been in the back of my head since before I even had children... mostly because of my own issues but that is a different story for another time. (I promise... I tried really REALLY hard not to let my own experiences affect this choice... and I think I did a pretty good job.. with Andrews guidance of course)
At this point the homeschool thing is only temporary. The plan right now is just to finish out Kindergarten this way wand then AnDee will start 1st grade at our public school next year. However we are open to continuing with the homeschooling if it is what works/is best for our kids. We are basically just giving it a try and then we will go from there.
What spurred this change? Well... My kids have been in 4 different houses in the last 4 years, not to mention the random month we spent at my sisters house. In the last year we have not only moved 2 times but we have moved to a different state completely and then threw AnDee in to school. She was insecure. She went. She did well. But it was hard on her. Every day was a challenge to keep her motivated and to get her out the door without a full on melt down. When we packed her up and moved her to another city right after Christmas (again)  the insecurities went crazy. She didn't even want to go to church or leave the house for the most part. She even had a hard time playing in a different room. She wanted to be next to me ALL the time. I couldn't decide if it was better to give in and let her feel secure and safe. Or to push her outside of it and make her go to school and tough it out. I had decided that she should go to school. It was getting to be too much and she had to just work her way through it but when we went to register her they sent us aways saying we didn't have all the forms we needed. Christmas hit and school was closed so we couldn't register her then. Then we were sick and even when school started back up we were too sick to attend or to even make the trip down to get her registered.
Then I went to our ward for the first time and met two moms who homeschool their kids full time. They didn't try to convince me of anything. It was just casual conversation about how school was going....
And then I met their kids.... and they were WEIRD. Like totally the typical "homeschool kids" that everyone imagines. Which should have put me off right? Well it did. I just felt right about it. I presented the idea to Andrew (again) who has always been a little more against it than I have and he started his typical questioning (which I always take as arguing) and then suddenly mid-questioning he said "Ok, lets do it." I felt confused because I knew he was no where near done questioning me "Wait what?"
"Lets try it and see what happens"
"What made you decide that?"
"I just feel good about it."
So here we are... Im stressed out of my mind trying to gather curriculum. My kids are in heaven. AnDee begs for more school every day and Pep is blossoming like I never imagined. We have only been at it a week and the kid has transformed.
I hope this doesn't send a confusing message. I want my kids to be "normal" Im not even sure if that is possible considering who they have parenting them but I want them to have a shot at having friends and not being "weird homeschool kids" and maybe next year we will be throwing them right back in to public school. Who knows? But for now we are doing it at home and its hard. So hard but so good and so fun to watch my kids understand things and challenge themselves.
This week we did a unit on penguins. I guess Friday is our "fun day" because we did lots of fun penguin stuff after our normal lessons.
We dressed up like penguins and did a penguin dance and then we tried to carry our eggs (a ball) on our feet while we waddled
 and then we did an experiment on how a penguins  blubber (the orange glove) protects them from the cold vs only having feathers (the cotton glove)
It was a fun day and if we are being honest... Mom is learning WAY more than the kids are in this homeschooling adventure but they are troopers and are sticking with me!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We Are Healthy!!

Finally! Everyone is over whatever that life ruining illness was that we had. (knock on wood) We even all went to church together last Sunday! It was magnificent! And when you are healthy you get to play. Lucky for us it has warmed up enough a few times to actually go outside to do the playing! To give you a little background... last year it was too stinking cold to even go out and play in the snow. Not to mention that there are no hills to sled on and that even when we did brave the snow (for approximately 38 seconds) it was too cold to stick together so we couldn't even build a snowman. Last year we waited until April. Yup APRIL! To build a snowman cause the snow was finally melty enough to stick together. I thought I knew what winter was when we lived in Utah. I was wrong. Utah's winter is like a nice warm spring in Illinois. Im not bragging.. I hate it. When you get a brain freeze from walking from your car to the grocery store... its too cold and I want nothing to do with it.
However.... This year hasn't been nearly as bad. We have even been out in the snow a few times. Once was at night because the temperature jumped to almost 30 degrees! Fun times.

 AnDee even built her first snowman of the year...

 This was very exciting walk around the block. Ike couldn't stop squealing and laughing and we were driving Andrew crazy cause we had to stop and look at everything. It literally took us 45 minutes to get around the block.

 Miss Bernadette is fitting nicely into our family. She is endlessly patient with the kids. The only issue we have at all is that she is still a puppy and she likes to chew. Nothing is safe from her little champers. Not even fingers or toes. None of it is mean or malicious by any means but trying to convince Ike of that is pretty hard to do.
 She got her very first bath last week and it resulted in some really awesome 80's hair..

She is picking up on things really quickly. She is pretty much completely house broken, she knows how to sit, stay, come, and shake. We are working on laying down and of course... no chewing on children.
In other news, the kids started swim lessons! The first lesson was a total win for AnDee Lew
and a total fail for Pep
However at lesson number 2 there were zero tears and while he still had his stone cold facial expressions to impress everyone with, he tried everything he was asked to and earned every bite of the cheetos I rewarded him with afterward.
Poor little Ikey didn't get to do lessons this time. However he enjoys the simple things in life and is just has happy to stay home with daddy and party like a... cowboy?

Sometimes after swim lessons you fall asleep while eating ice cream... on the couch and your ice cream might melt and spill all over the couch... might.
 Mostly things are really good right now. We just heard back about Andrew's back surgery and are in the process of getting that scheduled so Andrew (and maybe the rest of us??) will be heading back to Utah in a couple of months to have his spine fused. Its a little scary but the hope is that life will be a little (or a lot) more pain free post-surgery and maybe Andrew will even get to do things like play soccer or go hiking without wanting to die.
Our new house is great! The ward seems great and our puppy is great! We are finally healthy and its warm enough to go outside without getting a brain freeze. Life is good.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Couple Things to Remember

So Im taking it a few months back today. To a few events that never made it to the blog but that Id like to remember. The first comes to us from Miss AnDee Lew. She had a sock hop party at her school and was specific about needing a pink poodle skirt. I struggled to want to put an actually poodle on the skirt so after a little convincing she gave me  permission to make it a "scotty dog skirt"

Then we did her hair all fancy. Cutest girl ever.

Next up we have a little gem from Andrew. He went in for a discogram as part of the prepping process for possible back surgery. He was doing a little drugged texting..
Once he sobered up he had zero recollection of this.

And last we have a few words from my kiddos

 AnDee and Pep were playing in the yard and I was sitting in a lawn chair listening to them. (When I do this I have to be sneaky cause they don't play the same when they think Im paying attention) A rainbow appeared in the sky and this is the conversation that followed.
AnDee: Pep! Look! A rainbow!!
Pep: Yeah... but we better not touch it cause it will just sting us.
AnDee: No... Did you know there is golden at the end?!

 A while back AnDee and Pep were facetiming  with their cousin Felicity and Pep wanted to draw a picture for her.
Pep: Ok Jayne, you tell me what to draw for you.
Jayne: Ok... Um... draw me a flower.
Pep: I can't draw a flower! (like this was a preposterous suggestion)
(after a few more suggestions that were shot down) Jayne: Ok Pepperoni, tell me what you CAN draw.
Pep: I can draw a circle!!!

While walking AnDee to school The Girl was trying to explain The Boy about writing letters.
AnDee: First you have to get your mom to write your address.
Pep (in total embarrassment): AHHH! I don't have a dress on!

I was cleaning up the living room and Buggy was hovering like she tends to do.. you know, cause she never gets ANY attention.
AnDee: Guess what I learned in school today?
Me: What?
AnDee: Wait... I gotta say it so that no one can hear. (leans in and whispers in my ear) Q and U got married!
At which point she covered her mouth and giggled like it was the silliest and most embarrassing thing she could ever think of.

For some reason Pep has this weird thing where he HAS to have socks on at ALL times. He had had the same pair on for a couple of days and I couldn't get him to change them so I sat him down and peeled them off of his feet myself. As I finished pulling the second sock off, AnDee walked into the room. You would have thought she walked in on him with his pants down and his bum hanging out. He was mortified!  "AHHH! MOM! DONT LET ANDEE SEE ME" then he tucked his feet under his legs and did his best to cover them up with his hands.
Weirdest. Kid. Ever.  Should I worry?

Friday, January 2, 2015


Yup. Thats it. You get one little post about the entire month of December. Why? My life is has been utter chaos and I am tired. Oh. So. Tired. We kicked off the month with Ike and AnDee getting a little cold. We have been sick since. (Yes... we are still sick over 3 weeks later) We are talking really sick like Pep had a temp of 105.4 on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas??? And last night AnDee jumped up to 104. Its been a blast!
This is what Ike has looked like for approximately 3 weeks.

What else have we been up to? Oh you know, the usual. Just moving to a new house the day after Christmas, having Nanny and Poppy come stay with us (And save my life by  helping us move and watching the kids endlessly while I tried to get things in order) and celebrating that little holiday in December. I think its called Christmas? Im not really sure, it was all a blur of fevers and snot and boxes and sleepless nights.
AnDee's last day of school was strange. She didn't want to go (which isn't strange) but when we actually had to leave and she had to say goodbye she cried. A lot. Like a half hour of constant tears. Sad ones too. Broke my heart. Change is so hard.
 Our tree has a candy theme...
 AnDee Lew's  introduction to Home Alone. She loved it, of course
 Christmas curls

 This is where I prove how pathetic Ive been this month. These are literally the ONLY pictures I got on Christmas. I didn't even get AnDee jumping up and down squealing when she realized that Santa really did come! And to top it off.. they are blurry. Winner winner chicken dinner!

 The Day after Christmas Nana and Papa came.... and saved us all.  I honestly have NO IDEA how I would have got everything done without them. Between Andrew and the kids being sick, moving and trying to get the old house in good enough shape to get our deposit back I was at a loss. SO SO SO endlessly grateful to them.
 Plus Papa spent endless amounts of time like this..
which was all that sick baby wanted and I couldn't give it to him at the time

Its been a hard month for sure but SUCH a blessed one. We finally got a house with a fenced yard! Our Christmas was insane. How do we always end up with so many gifts? I honestly ended up throwing out 90% of the kids' old toys to make room for the new ones. When I was a kid my grandparents weren't overly involved with our family so now as an adult I tend to forget that my parents and Andrews parents will be sending gifts as well, (Not to mention Gayle and cousins)  so I always end up getting way too much stuff thinking that the only people they will be getting anything from are Andrew and I. We are so blessed to have such awesome grandparents and cousins and Aunts and Uncles that are involved! Most of our gifts somehow involved trains (of course) Miss AnDee Lew (we have been informed that she wants to be called AnDee Lew, not just AnDee) got roller skates and it has been nothing but pure entertainment watching her try to figure them out.
I was hands down the most spoiled of us all though. Andrew broke down and let me get my puppy.

We had to dive out to Iowa to get her and this is what the two of them looked like the entire way home. Seriously, 4 hours of puppy naps. They sure settled in to things quickly
When Grandma Pam called last night to wish us a happy new year, she had no idea we had a puppy until she asked the kids what their favorite part about their new house was to which they both replied "our puppy"

 Her name is Bernadette (Bernie) and she is a Saint Bernard/Poodle mix. We like big dogs... We honestly did consider something smaller but it just didn't fit.
 Pretty sure Ike likes this thing more than Bernie does..

She is the best. She is like a fluffy little Betty and her personality is a blend between Hunter and Betty (at least so far) If we can't have the two of them here, we will try our best to come as close as we can. We are still planning on bringing Hunter out here in the spring and then things will feel complete ;)
 This year has been a crazy, scary, awesome, fun, full of changes kind of year but it has been oh so good. We have grown and changed in so many ways I never could have imagined. Im so grateful for my family and extended family and friends. And Im especially grateful for the gospel and for Christ and his constant companionship. Without it I don't know if I would have made it through the craziness that has been my life this year.
Happy New Year! To you all! I hope yours was as good as ours!