To my oldest boy

Boy, you are something.  You made me a mom. You have taught me how to love fiercely and unconditionally, stretched my patience to the end of the earth, made messes bigger than I thought possible, made me giggle with delight, my blood boil with anger, my heart ache for one more snuggle.

And now I look it you.  The lines on your face are becoming strong. You are taller than me. You would prefer to hang out with the adults and don’t like being put in the “kid” category.  How did you get to be (nearly) 13 already?  I remember the day I brought you home.  You were wrapped in a bright yellow fleece snowsuit equivalent ducky onsie.  It was absurdly cold for April.   I was scared of you, but so in love. And now, here I am again about to take on a new adventure with you as a teenager.  My boy, my lovely sweet boy, take these thoughts from your Mama with you as you get older and grow into a man.

  1. Hold on to you. Life is a journey.  So many people are going to try to change you.  Always. You are never going to be good enough for everyone.  You are always going to have haters.  Live a genuine, honest life doing what you love, with people you love and don’t worry about the rest of the world.
  2. Don’t get to big for your britches.  You are beautiful and talented, funny and strong, sensitive and kind.  Those are all good things.  There’s a lot about you that people should and will admire. Stay humble, and always remember your roots and look for the good in everyone.  Everyone has good in them.
  3. Be a man.  I don’t mean this in the herculean, save the world, superman mentality. But be respectful, chivalrous, walk with integrity, admit your mistakes.  That is something you’ll be proud of.
  4. Pursue your dreams. Love, I don’t care if you are a dog walker, a gas station attendant, a doctor or the president.  Find something that defines you, that sets your soul on fire, that makes life worth living–and do that. Dreams won’t come to you because you wish on them.  Theres no magic trick to living what you have always dreamed of but hard work and goal setting can make anything happen.
  5. Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Laugh at your mistakes. There are going to be a lot of them.  You’ll probably lose more than you win. Laugh at your mistakes and learn from them.
  6. Friends are the family you choose. You will always have us-we are family.  Friends are important too.  Choose people that reciprocate your love, intent, and attempts to get together. Don’t waste your time on friends that don’t make you feel good.
  7. No one will ever love you like your mother does.  When you cry, I cry. When you smile, I smile. I would fight for you, no matter the cost.  When you go out in your journey’s for love–find someone who loves you with that same intensity.  That person won’t be perfect, but when you find that person, you’ll know.

As I am writing this, our song comes to mind.  I am note sure you remember it but “I Hope You Dance” is the perfect song for you, my boy.   Dance your heart out, stay humble, and live life to the fullest.

 

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A Word a Week-Refine

There are so many thoughts that come to mind when I think about refine. There are things we refine, there are processes we refine, there are attitudes, homes, and paperwork we refine.  We refine sugar, and oil to get rid of impurities, to rid the product from harmful substances.  By definition, the word “refine” means:  to remove impurities or unwanted substances, or to improve by a series of small steps and processes.

I wonder what it will look like when we take steps to refine our lives? What would this even mean? I think a lot of times the American perspective on resolutions is skewed. We set goals for a “new” me, “new” life, “new” home etc. instead of just taking the time to fix what we already have.  Mid century America was good at refining. Us–not so much.  I think we are headed in the right direction, but we need work.

For us as a family we are going to refine our life this year in the following ways:

  • Our Money. We need to plan better, set goals and tell our money where to go. Money can control you, but it needs to control you in a good way, for a better life. Dave Ramsey is a great guide.  You should read it.
  • Our Homeschooling.  We have the most AMAZING group of people in our homeschooling bubble.  Seriously, they make me grateful for our life everyday.  There are so many outstanding people with remarkable talents and so many things to offer our kids, and it is so tempting to do everything.  And then you become busy, and busy isn’t a life.
  • Our Food.  When you are busy, you eat what you can find. You eat take out. Cereal becomes a good dinner alternative. We are going to take efforts to change our food.  To eat whole foods, to eat planned, intentional meals.
  • Our Family Time.  Jordan and I are ambitious.  We work hard, we work diligently.  We are going to be more intentional about our family time to refine it, to make it more meaningful.

Refining things doesn’t mean that what you have isn’t good. I like what we have. I love our life, but there is always, always room for improvement.  When you stop growing, you stop living.

Cuddle Day

These things are real and I didn’t make them up.  Guys, if you could see the joy on my daughter’s face when she said “You can’t say no to cuddles today” and Declan running up to me and saying “it’s cuddle day” and torturing Noah with mommy hugs.  This is the sweet spot of life, where good things happen.

Also, on my news feed- on the same day as cuddle day, a memory video  of my kids singing the dreaded “What Does the Fox Say” when they were 8, 6 and 1. WHAT? How did that even happen.  How are they already 12,10 and 5. My heart.  The video belonged to our late friend who passed too soon, and hearing my voice makes me happy remembering the enormous blessing she was to my children, but it’s also a dreadful sound.  It is the sound of what used to be, what we won’t hear again.

Cuddle day was spent being with friends ( sans cuddling, grown ups don’t do that), getting some work done and taking down christmas ornaments.  I love the ordinary moments that my kids will someday remember as extra-ordinary.  The simple things. Daddy watches Star Wars while he works, Mom listens to audible with Alexa, Nanny listens to sappy 80’s ballads. Mom loves coffee. Dad eats crappy Now & Laters late at night when he thinks everyone is asleep.

What extraordinary, ordinary things did you do with your family today?

Spaghetti Day!

This was definitely a day that will go down in the History books for the BEST DAY EVER! Declan has shown so much excitement for these events and it is such a FUN way to teach the calendar to early elementary school kids.

Today we had our own version of an Elf breakfast. If you are one of the lone rangers on this planet that has not seen the best (Christmas) movie on earth, I suggest you get to it. Anyways. We  had a breakfast full of spaghetti, swedish fish, crushed peppermints, Now & Laters and syrup.  Since Declan usually lives off of carbs and sugar, I believe that he is actually an elf. No judgement, he is growing and and thriving and you only live once right? Um, yeah.  Rylee tried some, and enjoyed it but didn’t eat a full bowl like Declan did. Noah is smart enough to know better.

For dinner, we had my favorite lazy meal.  Spaghetti, Raw Spinach, Garbanzo beans, chopped pepperoni, fresh herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper. ( Leave out pepperoni for a great meatless Monday meal).  I didn’t get a photo, but I will have to next time. It’s quick , easy and everyone seems to like it.

Disclaimer: Noah called this carb loading and that’s okay. Declan never stops moving. Also, he brushed his teeth.  This was important. SUGAR overload.  It is worth the day of sugar and carbs for all of the excitement and all of the memories.

Follow along with us for your next adventure when we post about Bird and cuddle day!

Living off the Grid

I have thought often about living off the grid.  This seems extreme and very beautiful at the same time.  It’s more of a fantasy for us, as we make our living through internet and technology.  We do have a few goals this year in relation to this.  I want to teach my kids the importance of taking care of our earth.  We do volunteer park clean ups and participate in Nature clubs through our homeschool group, but our impact needs to be reduced.  We have joked about locations where we would go in the “apocalypse”and spend a lot of time outdoors.

As a culture I think we are headed towards a generation where we use less, create more. What do you think of this video and this lifestyle?

Saturn: Declan’s Biography

Declan: Age 5

Born: on Saturn, in the middle. In the United States of Saturn

Temperature: It is always warm and sandy.  There are sand storms once a day.  To escape the the sand storms they type in stuff to their computer to create a force field for protection.

Food: Food is almost the same as the food on earth.  Corn is the best, except it’s brown on Saturn.

How he got to earth:  He came in a rocket ship. He crash landed on me (his mom’s belly). He was really 100 years old but came here to start a new life because he had to many toys on Saturn.

Animals: There are a lot of creatures on Saturn. Skeleton donkeys are often seen.  They are half skeleton, half spider.  They are EXTREMELY dangerous.   There are also crazy floating heads called olsheekobappas. They are giant floating heads with a skeleton face.

How dogs on earth are made:  They are sent from Saturn via radar.  Hair is collected on missions to earth.  The hair is put into a machine, in a factory where dogs are made. Once the dogs are completed they are radar transported to earth.

 

Celebrating all of the Holidays

A dear friend of mine, a fellow homeschooling mom and the one who gets all of the things done decided to celebrate all of the Holidays–not just the big ones, but the little ones too.  Like Bubble Wrap day! She was kind enough to share it  will add photos as we celebrate so you can follow along as we celebrate all the holidays. January 1st was a wash because we were all sick and yesterday there wasn’t a great holiday to celebrate so we will start tomorrow!

January 3-Sleep Day

January 4- Spaghetti Day

January 5-Bird Day

January 6- Cuddle Day

January 7-Pioneers Day (Liberia)

January 8-Bubble Bath Day

January 9- Peace Agreement Day (South Sudan)

January 10-Dark Chocolate Day

January 11- Puddle Splash Day

January 12-Pharmacist Day

January 13- Constitution Da (Mongolia)

January 14- Pet Dress Up Day

January 15- MLK DAy

January 16- Dragon Day

January 17- ?

January 18- Winnie The Pooh DAy

January 19- Popcorn Day

January 20-Cheese Day

January 21-Squirrel Appreciation Day

January 22- Blondie Day

January 23- Measure your feet Day

January 24- Compliment Day

January 25- Opposite Day

January 26-Spouse Day

January 27-Chocolate Cake Day

January 28-Kazoo DAy

January 29- Bubble Wrap Day

January 30-The Three Holy Hierarchs (Greece)

January 31- Inspire Art & Love day

Who is going to join us?

 

A Word a Week- Purpose

Purpose- 

I feel like as humans we are pre-disposed to want a life of purpose. We want our lives to mean something, to leave a legacy, to make a mark.  Last year I was able to quit a job that I hated and truly commit to what I love–travel planning and homeschooling my loves.  My purpose began to surface as I made new friends, built an incredible village and connected on a deeper level with my children and my husband.

Something happens in your soul when you are released from the monotony of the 9-5 job and you have the ability to work for yourself and teach your children what you think they need to know to be purposeful and live a meaningful life. Last year, I found my strength, revalidated my purpose, prioritized my goals and created new ones.

Work is meaningful.  What you do, and how you spend your days -is meaningful.  Some people find their meaning outside of work through extra activities, fun family events and vacations and that is perfect too.

What are you going to do this year to find and execute your purpose?  What have you done already?

Stay tuned for next weeks post in our Word a Week series for 2018.

It’s (not) so hard to say goodbye to 2017

I am positive that today you are going to read or see about 50 or so posts about moving on from 2017 and what the new year will bring.  I am not one for resolutions but I am one for setting tangible, realistic goals.  I love the idea of a new year, a fresh start, a new story to write.  If I had to look back and reflect on the past few years I could sum up the years up each in a few words.

2014-Discovery

2015-Mistakes

2016-Prosperity

2017-Perspective

For 2018, I hope our word will be growth. As a business owner I know that setting goals that you can touch are the most effective and meaningful way to accomplish what you set out to. So here they are, on paper for the world to see.

  • Reduce our waste and our carbon footprint.  This means no more paper towels, limited paper products, reusable cups for my Starbucks runs.  We are going to purchase more stainless steel and glass and get rid of the plastic and toxic items in our home.  I need to teach my kids more about our world and how much we impact it.
  • Get Healthy in body, mind and soul.  The big kids and I have mom and child journals.  There is a “Mom & Daughter” book and a “Mom and Son” book.  These kids grow up so fast. These journals are going to help us connect on a higher level.
  • Write more.
  • Rely more on essential oils and their amazing healing properties.  This brand has been incredible and we LOVE using them.
  • Meal Plan-We need to live more frugally. I am going to commit to meal planning and commit to meatless Monday’s using this great vegan cookbook by Thug Kitchen.  I will be posting our meals on our “What’s for Dinner” page, so stay tuned!
  • The kids and I are going to read at LEAST 3 chapter books a month. That is 36 books.  If you are interested, they are listed under books we love, and we will provide a review when they are done.  Much of our learning is done through living books.

What are your goals for 2018?  What will you accomplish to make you better in body, mind and soul. Here’s to saying goodbye to the good, but old and welcoming a new year of growth and prosperity. Here’s to 2018.  Cheers!

Car theft and lessons learned

A few days before Christmas we woke up to find that someone had taken my van from my driveway, as a Christmas present to themselves. I spent the first 30 minutes staring at the wall, in disbelief. Seriously? My HOA bubble was burst.  I grew up in an inner city, so I know that these things do happen, but REALLY?  We went through the motions after I could comprehend enough to take care of what I needed to and got the car back late last night.  Children had stolen my car. They had done it before, have been a nuisance to the cops.

I picked up my car from the sketchiest towing company I have ever been to.  Perhaps suburbia is just rubbing off on me. It was all just very uncomfortable.  My van is in decent condition.  The items that were in there that I was worried about have been returned with the exception of Noah’s new chucks and my coveted blue yeti cup.   They did leave cigarette butts, the inside of a cigar, trash, and a box of chips ahoy! At least I know what snacks they like when I visit them in prison.

I cried yesterday. For the first time since my car was stolen and it was a messy, blubbery, crying mess. It was a real ugly cry, but this morning I feel like I have learned a lot.

5 things I learned from having my car stolen:

  1. Strength is harbored until you need it. Even though I am a homeschool mom, a blogger and a dual business owner I underestimated my ability to manage chaos and mayhem. I really was able to tackle and manage this problem.
  2. Good friends are like gold.  From a text message of remorse, a bottle of wine on my table without me requesting, neighbors offering their car, daily check ups to see what I need, and being there to help me laugh through it-you find out who your friends are and my friends are better than gold.
  3. You cannot mess with my kids.  My (almost brand new) car was stolen from my driveway and that made me mad.  What made me loose sleep, and want vengeance was the fact that my children’s stuff was in there. Some items that were irreplaceable, and they didn’t care.  When I found out my car was found, I just wanted my kids stuff to be in there.  Thankfully, most of it was.
  4. I have a heart for kids that need it. These kids are broken.  They are lost.  They need someone, something that will help them be better. They act this way because they are allowed to.  If they go to jail, I am probably going to visit them (law abiding) and love them through this.
  5. Knowledge is Power. I have never been in a situation where I have been scared to open my door, worried about doors being locked and worried about leaving my home with no one there.  I am now.  I am looking over my own shoulders in my own home.  I’ve been kicked out of my suburbia bubble.  It can happen anywhere.

I know how blessed I am. They took my car. A replaceable item that I did get back.  It’s filthy and I feel violated.  They took my stuff, my hard work, my blood, sweat and tears. They took the first new car I had ever owned and went joy riding.  I am not sure I have ever been more angry, grateful, and empowered to help change these kids all at one time.