Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

I was close to my maternal grandmother, Grandma Alice. My paternal grandparents were pretty indifferent as to spending time with us. My memories of my Grandma Alice are fond. We spent the night at her house most every Saturday night. We watched Love Boat and Fantasy Island. We played Double Solitaire. She took us to Sunday school the next morning. Another very fond memory is eating fried chicken dinners at her house. We would all cram around her kitchen table in the kitchen while she served us and then she ate her dinner standing at the counter. She would never sit with us.

What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

I had a blankie that I still have today. In fact, I use it to cover Bennett when he is taking a nap at my house.

When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

Outside my window are big, beautiful oak and elm trees. They shade our entire house. Overall I would say that figuratively I am a forest girl. I can generally see the big picture and not get hung up on the details to get there. I try not to lose sight of the end goal.

Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed would you say is your favorite? grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats. Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list.

I do like sour candies, my favorite being the large chewy sweet tarts. My favorite sour food to eat is Greek yogurt. But, I love the scent of all things citrus, so lemons rank way up there. I have never eaten a kumquat. My favorite dish with one of the items is lemon bars. Yum!

July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.

It is not what I expected, but I am excited for the new direction.

Insert your own random thought here.

School starts in a month. We have been so crazy busy this summer that I don't feel like we have had any chance to relax! We haven't been to the pool once! Brynne is finishing up the last of her sports camps this week, and I would think that would mean it was time to slow down. But we have our yearly lake trip scheduled for the first week of August and then a little overnight birthday trip for Brynne to St. Louis the next week. And then school starts! I really need to work on a calmer summer next year. I haven't even had much time to read.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I am literally sitting here at the dining room table in a dazed stupor after the busy couple of weeks we have had. I should have never sat down. So, I figured this was a great time to participate in this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge!

When was the last time you chatted with a neighbor? About what? (sharing that last bit is optional)

Oh my. My neighborhood. We live in a colorful one. I do not actually talk with very many of my neighbors unless it's to discuss the latest visit from the sheriff at the house down the street. On the 4th of July, though, while at the town's park festivities, I did talk with a sweet neighbor who lost her husband suddenly almost two years ago. She and her husband own the funeral home and are just wonderful people. She was widowed at too young an age with two teenage daughters and a young son. We discussed how she was doing, how she is coping with running the funeral home alone, how her oldest daughter has moved into the house across the street from us to help her run the business, and how she is handling solo parenting a precocious boy who misses his daddy.

River, lake, ocean, or waterfall ... which one are you most like and why?

Hmmmm .. I guess I would say a river. I just move along at a slow and winding pace, if not physically then mentally and emotionally. I took an online quiz that said I am a Lake. I am an independent thinker who enjoys their own company but am extremely welcoming when the time comes to open my home and surroundings to the people I care most about. I typically prefer to mind my own business and let others live their own lives in the way I wish to been control of my own. That's pretty accurate, actually.

July 13 is National Delaware Day. Ever been to Delaware? Delaware is called 'the first state' because it was the first to declare independence from the British. What's your state's nickname and does that moniker make sense to you? If you were in charge, what nickname would you give your state?

I have not ever been to Delaware. Missouri is the Show Me State. It comes from a speech given by William Duncan Vandiver in 1899. He said, "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me." The phrase is now used to describe the character of Missourians as being not gullible, but conservative and unwilling to believe without adequate evidence. Yeah, I don't know about all that. We are a pretty faith-filled state and seem to be strongly Republican these days. I feel like at least in this part of Missouri we trust in the sovereignty of God for the most part. But that's only speaking for myself. I would call us the Pioneer State because that gets to the root of who we are.

What dish did you contribute to the last pot luck meal you attended? Do you have a go-to recipes for pot luck suppers?

I usually make "party potatoes" which are basically instant mashed potatoes cooked with lots of butter, sour cream, and cream cheese and then baked. The last potluck I went to was on a day I played cards with some ladies and I brought a sweet potato cornbread.

What is your number one tip for a brand new parent?

No matter how tempted, or scared you are, put that baby in his or her bedroom the first night and keep him or her there. Do not sleep with the baby! Allow yourself to get some sleep without jumping up every time you hear the baby wiggle, grunt, toot or whimper. If he or she needs you, you will know it!

Insert your own random thought here.

This past week our family attended the National Stuttering Association annual conference in Dallas for the first time. I have so much I want to share but haven't been able to assimilate it all yet. All I do know is that Eli met others who stutter for the first time in his 13 years. He and Brynne attended teen workshops for three days, learned an invaluable amount of information, and made some life-long friends. Rick and I did the same. I have never seen Eli so happy in my life. What he took away from the conference is that his goal is not fluency but to be an effective speaker. In other words, he is allowed to be okay with being a person who stutters and to concentrate on just being the person he really is inside. In his words, he was so happy because he was with his "people". We have made a decision to attend the annual conference every year from now one. It was that life-changing. Next year: Chicago!

Friday, June 30, 2017


The month of June was an insanely busy month for us. It's mostly Brynne's fault. Eli and I are content to just sit at home doing our thing. But that Brynne just has to be busy, so we let her drag us all around.

Here is a summary of our month:

My heart almost broke dropping her off the first day.

Brynne attended summer school this month. She studied math, English, genetics, and newspaper, and then took some elective courses including cooking, survival camp, and the building of a ground drone. The students took pre- and post-tests in math and English, and Brynne scored the highest in math of anyone in her class. If you are a homeschool mom I am sure you can relate to my feeling of relief not only that she did well but that apparently I have been an adequate enough teacher for her over the past 7 years. Really I am just so incredibly proud of her and am excited to see how she does in public school. I think she's going to knock their socks off.

I coached Brynne's softball team this year. We did not have a successful season in numbers ending with a 2-9 record, but we had several close games, learned a lot, and had fun, I hope. I have decided that being a coach is not my calling so I have demoted myself back down to dugout mom and secretary for next year and am going to let this year's assistant coach take over. (In all honesty, I only agreed to coach this year because there wasn't anybody else to do it. Motivating mom, I am. Technical coach, I am not.) The team sure was cute, though! And, Brynne really blossomed this year in softball! She found that she is an excellent 3rd baseman, moving there from 2nd base. And she was without a doubt our most consistent hitter, hitting the ball at almost every single at bat this year. She rocked!

I am the slowest runner .. but I actually beat a few people!

The first Saturday in June I went to visit my blogging-turned-in-real-life friend, Jodi, who used to live in West Virginia but now only lives two hours away from me. We had such a nice time just talking, eating, drinking wine, and antique shopping. She also supported me in a 5k for Pathways Community Health as we have one of their facilities in our town. I beat my personal record by about a minute.

Brynne participated in two volleyball camps and a basketball camp at University of Central Missouri. She always walks away from those camps a better player.

While Brynne was at summer school and various camps, Eli was staying up late and sleeping till lunchtime. In the afternoons he did some schoolwork. We have continued on with our daily Fix It Grammar lessons, he has read every day from 30 minutes to 1 hour, and he started a new online math class with Mr. D. Can I just say THANK YOU LORD FOR MR. D!!! Eli has only been participating for two weeks but he has actually been smiling when he finishes his lessons each day! He said that Mr. D is the ticket for math. Thank goodness! Eli has also been going to speech therapy, and next week our family is traveling to Dallas to attend the National Stuttering Association national conference for the first time. He is really excited about that!

On Friday nights we are participating in a family bowling league. It's fun to play 9 pin and win a little money. The kids are really enjoying it!

We have had some visits from Dawson and Alyssa. They are moving to Dallas starting this weekend so seeing them has been good for our souls.

Older brothers rock.

Finally, Brynne celebrated her birthday a little early with a swimming party and sleepover at Kyndal's. One of her friends is moving away this summer, so she wanted to have her party before she moves. The girls had a great time swimming, playing washers and dodgeball, and making tie dye shirts. Twelve year old girls are fun!

And that was our month! Brynne is done with summer school and softball now, but that doesn't mean our July looks any less busy.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tuesday Coffee Chat

Three things on your Summer To Do List ...

I covered some of this last week on Wednesday Hodgepodge but it was more in relation to us as a family. On this post I will get more specific about some things I am doing, as the adult Nicole who has a life outside her children and extended family.

1. This Saturday morning Kyndal and I are flying to Las Vegas to see Backstreet Boys in concert! This will be our 4th time. I believe we have seen them on every American tour they have had. The first time was in 1999 on Kyndal's 5th birthday. We saw them in Kansas City. When Kyndal was 16 we went with my sister and niece to see them with New Kids on the Block in Tulsa. That was the funnest thing I have ever done in my life, bar none! Then we saw them at an outdoor concert at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City just a couple of years ago. It never gets old. We scream like teenagers every time they come out onto the stage and sing and do the choreography like we are part of the band. Groupies all the way!

2. We will head to the lake with our Okie friends at the end of July and beginning of August for our annual Lake School week. This is my favorite week of the year. Megan and I do all of our homeschool planning for the year, drink wine, read, and relax. The kids (ages 13, 12, 11, 10) play the Wii, swim, play board games, read, and just have fun! We always try to do some kind of lesson while we are there. Last year was an Olympic theme. This year we are thinking of doing some lessons and activities using MythBusters.

3. I have some 5Ks planned and even my first 10k! Brynne, my mom, and I will run the KC Royals 5k in August. In September I will run the KC Zoo Run, which is four miles, and the kids and I will then run the 1 mile Fun Run. Then the next weekend I will be running my first 10k with some ladies from my Insanity Live! class and running group.

Of course there are the regular summer activities with kids ... camps, swimming, relaxing. We are also heading to Dallas in a week to attend the National Stuttering Conference for the first time.

Busy, busy!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Yeah, I know today is Thursday. It has been a crazy week! I have been enjoying a morning at home feeling a bit like a zombie but chugging lots of coffee. Blogging is something I have had the hardest time fitting into my schedule lately, but I felt like a little Hodgepodge reflection this morning.

The first day of summer is this week. What are 10 things you'd put on your list of quintessential summer activities? Will you try to manage all 10 this summer?

Our summer is half over, so we have been at the majority of these things already. Most of them will continue over the next month and a half.
1. Swimming
2. DQ (ours is only open during warm seasons)
3. Softball
4. Lake
5. Kids staying up late and sleeping in
6. 4th of July festivities
7. Grilling hotdogs
8. Sports camps for the kids
9. Lesson planning for the upcoming school year for me
10. Kansas City Royals baseball

Do you collect seashells when you're at the beach? What do you do with them once you get them home? What's your favorite place to comb for seashells? How many of the Best Beaches for Hunting Seashells have you visited? Which one would you most like to visit?

I do not collect seashells, but I do enjoy looking for them while on the beach. The only beach we really get to regularly is in Pensacola and there's not much in the way of shell combing there. We could head to Sanibel Island or another area with more shelling, but I wouldn't say that we are interested enough in it to do it.

At a snail's pace, shell out money, come out of your shell, go back into your shell, drop a bombshell, happy as a clam, clam up ... which 'shell' phrase could most recently be applied to some event or circumstance in your life? Explain.

Definitely go back into your shell. There has been way too much going, people, and activity for me this past month, and I do not operate at my best under those conditions. I, so desperately, want to go back into my shell and hibernate in my house with some mindless television, coffee, and good books. What I wouldn't do for a cool, rainy day. Most people just don't get how important, even necessary, it is for me to have a lot of alone time, peaceful days, and minimal activity. It is not just a mental thing but a physical one, as well. When I have been around too many people with too many activities I grow extremely weary and even start to feel physically unwell. I feel like I have to defend that all the time, even to those closest to me who cannot relate. But it really is just the way that I am, and I am prepared to protect it at all costs. In fact, it has become a sort of mission of mine.

What summer activity do you dislike? Why?

Sweat. Here is a newsflash. I DO NOT LIKE SUMMER! Actually, there is not much about it that I like AT ALL. Out of the activities above, I do not like to: swim, be at hot softball practices and games, be at the lake unless it's a rainy day, stay up late, or listen to the noise of the 4th of July. Instead, I would rather pick up some DQ sandwiches for dessert to eat after we have our grilled hotdogs, then sit down to do some reading (even lesson planning is relaxing to me) and watch a Royals baseball game on t.v. And I would prefer to do all of those things when it's about 45 degrees outside, and raining or snowing.

What's something you see as quickly becoming obsolete? Does that bother you?

Respect. Just look around. It's so sad.

Insert your own random thought here.

Can't wait to see Backstreet Boys in Las Vegas in a little over a week!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Tuesday Coffee Chat

I realize it's Wednesday, but yesterday I never had a chance to sit down with my coffee and my computer at the same time. Today's question is a fun one, and one we should ask ourselves from time to time. It's good for the soul to be reminded.

What is the best compliment you've received lately?

Last weekend I went to visit a friend. While there we did some antique shopping, just browsing, really. I came upon an original Risk game with all of the pieces, in mint condition, for $15.00. On a whim I bought it for Dawson.

When I got home I texted him a picture of it. Soon, he made a post on Snapchat. In it, he called me a freakin' GOAT.

Now, I have been called lots of things in my life, most of which I will not mention here nor admit, but a GOAT is not one of them.

I had to go to the worldwide web to find out whether I should be offended, because generation gap! I was not offended. GOAT means: Greatest of All Time. And, not only did he think I was a GOAT, but he thought I was a freakin' GOAT!

Sometimes being a parent is a thankless job. Thankfully, I have kind kids and get a heartfelt 'thank you' pretty often. My adult kids even say nice things about me on social media from time to time. I feel very loved by my kids. But this little compliment is one that will definitely stick with me.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

What makes you feel accomplished? Explain.

Monday would be what I would consider a perfect day of accomplishment. First of all I had nothing planned. So I got up when I wanted to get up, which was at 7:00 a.m. I could have gotten up earlier; I could have slept in later. But I woke up naturally and felt ready to get moving. All day long I worked steadily at things I enjoyed, but things that also needed to get completed. I wasn't on any kind of schedule, but instead did tasks as I felt led to do them. I went to the Amish greenhouse to pick up a few flowers. I came home and planted flowers, worked in my garden. Then I did some power washing on our house. I grilled burgers for dinner, enjoyed a glass of wine, watched a KC Royals game, did some reading before bed. By the end of the day my muscles were tired, my head was clear from all of the outside time, and I felt like it was a day well spent. That, to me, is accomplishment.

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Tell us why.

Tim Gunn - I absolutely love him, and would love to have him help me see some positive additions to my daily style.
President Trump - I would like to hear FROM HIM what his views are, what his plans are, and how he is going to work to get our country back to its roots of growth and strength. I am tired of hearing the media's take on him or what he has to say or what he wants to do.
Shemar Moore - Cause he's just hot. But he's also fun, and I would like to hear about his decision to leave Criminal Minds after 10+ years and launch out on his own to chase a dream of being a lead in his upcoming show S.W.A.T., and about his work for M.S.

Do you have a great burger recipe? What's in it? What do you like on a hamburger and where is your favorite spot to order one out?

My burgers are pretty ho-hum. I buy the fresh patties from Aldi in the meat section, sprinkle on a little steak seasoning and garlic salt, then grill. I like my burgers with mayo, lettuce, onion, and tomato, typically with either Swiss cheese and mushrooms or with cheddar. My favorite burger? The
Mushroom Swiss Burger at Red Robin ... yummm!

What's the biggest anxiety producing thing you do on a regular basis?

I try very hard not to involve myself in anything anymore that might cause me anxiety. It's part of my simple, peaceful lifestyle I am creating for myself. I guess it would be anytime I have to actually call someone on the phone. I hate talking on the phone. I would much rather text or email.

This is the last Hodgepodge of May. Tell us about your summer plans.

The majority of my summer will involve transporting kids back and forth to activities and summer school, taking care of Bennett, going swimming, going to some garage sales. We don't have a major vacation planned this year, but we are going on some small trips: national stuttering conference in Dallas, a lake week with friends, and a fast one night trip to Las Vegas with Kyndal to see Backstreet Boys in concert! Kyndal and I have been to a concert in every Backstreet Boys tour, the first being on her 5th birthday. It's kind of an extravagant trip for a concert, but we just can't miss it.

Insert your own random thought here.

This morning I had a breast biopsy, my second in two years. Two years ago it was for some indeterminate calcifications that looked questionable and today it was for a fibroidadenoma that was detected in an ultrasound after I located a cyst during a self-exam. I have an amazing radiologist who does my mammograms. This year I opted for a 3D mammogram. He came into the examining room to show me the fibroid tumor on the monitor and to explain to me that it is a noncancerous tumor. However, he wanted me to have it biopsied. He told me that my regular breast specialist, an expert in the field, had moved to a hospital in Kansas, but called him personally to get me set up for my biopsy. He came in and handed me his cell phone number and told me to call him. So I did, and he got me all scheduled. After my biopsy today he explained to me that there is the very rare chance that this tumor is a localized cancerous tumor that does not spread or metastasize (although he would be surprised if it is) that would have to be removed if it comes back as malignant. But that is the worst case scenario, and he's not worried about it. But as I was leaving he said, "Now, you have my cell phone number  don't you?" He told me I could call him anytime I have any problems. You just don't get that kind of care very often these days. I am so blessed to have such amazing physicians in my corner.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tuesday Coffee Chat

Today's Tuesday Coffee Chat topic is simply this:

Get something off your chest.

This summer I am coaching Brynne's softball team with the help of my son-in-law Collin, Kyndal, and another parent. When I took on this team, it was at the request of the players and some of the parents. I had been the dugout mom of their team for the past couple of years and had coached one game while the coach was gone. I have been involved with these girls in all of their sports for the past four years. We live in a small town so everybody knows everybody and our paths cross often when it involves our kids.

Now, I took on coaching the team with some knowledge of softball. I mean, I played as a kid and have been involved in several seasons. But I am not a skills coach. Most of the parents, and kids, understood that at the outset of the season. Do you want someone ultra organized? That's me! Do you want texted reminders and good communication? That's me! Do you want cool uniforms? That's me! Do you want a good dose of discipline and encouragement? That's me! Do you want lots of team building? That's me! Do you want your child to have the best technical coaching of her life? That's not me, but I have other coaches on board to help with it.

We have had a good season so far. I love these girls! Our record is 2-3, with one of our losses only by one run. Every game I see the girls learning and improving. They are so excited to play. They listen and work hard. They treat each other with respect, and me as well. I really couldn't ask for much more.

But then there are the parents.

One of my biggest complaints with sports parents is when they don't want to take the responsibility to be involved and volunteer their time, but they want to tell you how to do it. They constantly ask why their kid isn't playing a certain position or getting a different amount of playing time. We addressed this issue straight away at the beginning of this season. I made it very clear that I wouldn't listen to it. I wouldn't listen to it out of the girls, and I certainly wouldn't listen to it out of the parents. The girls have learned that I am serious about that. A couple of the parents have not.

I work very hard to be as fair as I can in playing time. I sit my own kid out sometimes to be fair, even though she is one of the better players. But the fact of the matter is that we have a few positions that are critical and only a few select players who can adequately play them. All decisions I make are based on what's best for the team.

For the most part we get along swimmingly. But there are always those couple of parents.

In the game that we only lost by one run, I got jumped by two separate parents about their kids' playing time and position play. I was on a high after that game because the girls came from a ten run deficit and almost won the game! They played so great, and I was so proud of them! But all I could concentrate on the rest of the night was the negativity of those two particular parents. And I was mad. I sent a strongly worded text to all parents reminding them that all coaching decisions will be made by the coaches.

Since then, one particular parent has decided she is going to keep on keeping on with the complaints, questioning when we do or do not have practices, etc. It's been everything I can do to just take a deep breath and keep my mouth shut.

I love coaching these girls. But the sad part is that one parent can make a coach decide he or she is not going to coach the following year. When you are volunteering a lot of your own time for your child and other people's children, doing it all with good intentions, trying your hardest, and you have some jerk parent in your face because they aren't getting what they want? .... yeah, it makes me reconsider coaching in the future. It's not worth it. I try not to let it get to me but, come on, climb off my back. Or, I have an idea ... why don't YOU coach the team next year? Why don't YOU try to figure out how to get fifteen girls adequate playing time while also trying to win a few games, because you'd be the one bitching about all of our losses if I didn't consider individual talent and let us lose every game. Why don't YOU try thanking the coach for his or her time and devotion and love of your child instead of tearing him or her down at every turn? Or, how about you just sit down and shut up, thank you.

Yeah, I have needed to get that off my chest. Thank you for listening.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Turpentine Creek Animal Refuge ~ Eureka Springs, Arkansas

I am doing a little Flashback Friday today, as I am seriously behind on blogging our family life. Last month Dawson and I went on a mother/son trip. I had originally purchased him and I tickets to the Game of Thrones live concert, but our event was cancelled. We were seriously bummed! So I started looking for something for us to do together, and came upon a Groupon for Turpentine Creek Animal Refuge in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Dawson is very much an animal activist so I was hoping this might be something he would really enjoy. We stayed two nights in the Siberian Suite. (If I was going to choose which place to lodge at the Refuge, this would be it again and again.)

This ended up being the trip of a lifetime. Directly outside the window of our suite were two large tigers, Montana and Poncho. Out the front porch was a lion and liger pair. We could see panthers, other tigers, and bears from our suite.

Dawson and I arrived on Sunday evening and settled into our super cool suite. It was amazing, more like a small apartment than a hotel room. It was getting dark so we said "Hi" to the tigers next to our suite and went to get dinner at Amore. If you are ever in Eureka Springs, stop by and see these folks. They make you feel like you have just come into their home for an Italian dinner. Excellent!

We were up bright and early on Monday morning because we were so excited to see all of the other animals. We took off on a little self-guided tour around the perimeter of the compound and read the stories of all of the big cats. (It wasn't until we completed our tour that we learned that we weren't supposed to be on that road without a guide. Ooops!)

It is astonishing the work that Turpentine Creek does for these sweet animals. Without the owners, staff, and volunteers each of them would have been euthanized. Instead, they have created natural habitats for them to live out the rest of their lives ... their "forever homes". They have a vet clinic on site, a geriatric wing, and even a section created especially for a group of cats that were rescued who were traumatized and cannot be around any people.

The caregivers are so amazing, and it was heartwarming to witness their interactions with the animals. They spray perfumes at the cats for scent stimulation, spray water hoses into their cages for them to play in, and meticulously clean and preserve their habitats. We were told that the animals are allowed to do whatever they want while in their habitats. They do not "tell them what to do". They want things to be as natural for them as possible.

Of course none of this is possible without funding which comes, in part, from the admission fee into the refuge, products purchased, and rooms rented. One hundred percent of all proceeds goes back to the care of the animals. We saw a sign thanking those who have donated large sums of money. Ellen DeGeneres was on that list.

It was raining on Monday so Dawson and I took some time roaming around Eureka Springs having coffee (the best Cafe Au Lait I have ever tasted), shopping, and then stopping for dinner at a little Mexican place.

We also took some time to tour Quigley's Castle, the "strangest dwelling in the Ozarks". It was, in fact, the strangest dwelling I have ever seen. The inside was crazy. But it was neat to see the individuality of Mrs. Quigley in creating her home, filling it with those things she loved. God bless Mr. Quigley for being open to her wants and desires. I love seeing places like this, feeling other's lives from the past.

On Tuesday morning we took one more pass through the general public compound spending tons of time watching Bam Bam the bear (spending time watching him play is worth the admission price alone) and saying good-bye to Goober, the only monkey at the refuge.

This trip was magical. Dawson and I had never gone on a trip alone, sans those Boy Scout campouts of his youth, so it was so incredible to spend some time with my adult son. We played cards, ate, and just enjoyed the refuge and the beauty of Arkansas.

If you live in the Midwest and are considering a trip to Florida to go to Animal Kingdom, I highly recommend that you save your tourist bucks and book a weekend at Turpentine Creek. Your money will go to an excellent cause, and you will walk away feeling as though you have spent a weekend with the dearest of friends. Plus, just date your kids, especially when they are adults. It is such special time.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

What color is prominent in your home? Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it?

I have a few basic colors in my house ... pale gold, red, green, and black (cabinets, leather couch, etc.) I absolutely LOVE my colors! They remind me of fall, which is my favorite season, and make me feel warm and cozy. Even if I was going to be moving into a completely new house, I would choose these colors all over again. Even when they are out of style, I do not think I will be able to part with them.

What's something you'll NEVER do again?

Oh my. There certainly are a few prominent things. I will keep it light, though ... I will never watch a scary movie again. I value my sleep way too much to fill it with something that will keep me awake, especially in fear.

Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don't.

I am a nurturer, and I believe a woman's place is at home taking care of her family. I read lists of stereotypes of men and didn't feel like I fit into any of them, really, other than I am a natural leader and not meek and mild and silent and submissive. And, I like to drink beer out of a bottle.

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? Ever ridden a motorcycle? If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride?

I have not owned a motorcycle. I rode on the back of one for a short distance once. I do not like them, hate the idea of a car coming up behind me. This is a "I will never again" item.

If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?

You could read Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, or just this blog. I would watch the show Parenthood. I remind myself a lot of Kristina Braverman. Definitely listen to "The Slow Home Podcast". It is definitely the direction I am heading and what I aspire to become.

Insert your own random thought here.

We have come full circle. Several months ago we bought 17 acres with the dream of building a farmhouse and having a small hobby farm. Kyndal and Collin were planning to build on the property, too. They decided that it would be best for them to just buy a larger home in town instead of to build. We, too, decided that it would be best for our family not to build. So, the property is back on the market. Then we were faced with a decision to either put significant amounts of money into our current house or buy a different one. We put our house on the market and put a contract on a slightly larger 100 year old house that has been remodeled and updated. Since then the kids have expressed an interest in staying in our current home, our roof here has started to leak meaning we need to replace it to even sell it, and I was starting to feel some sadness about leaving this house that I really, really love. We have decided, ultimately, to back out of our contract on the other house and take ours back off the market. We are going to stay put and do some extensive renovations here: replace the roof, tear down our garage that is falling apart and is an eyesore, put up a privacy fence around our back and side yard for privacy away from the trashy houses that are behind us, gut and completely remodel our one bathroom, renovate the cool upstairs attic into a 450 square foot master suite with bathroom and living area, move Brynne into the current master bedroom and out of the "meth" room in the basement (we kid her that her room was previously a meth lab by the previous owners), and put in a new HVAC system. I am so excited about all of this and feel so much more at peace! If I am learning anything at all currently, it's that I need peace in my life, and I do not need one more thing I have to take care of, like a farm. That is just a pipe dream that is going to have to die.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday Coffee Chat

What song reflects your mood right now?

I can't seem to find a song that truly reflects my mood, so I wrote my own lyrics. I am open to collaborating with any musicians who would like to write the music.

I'm so tired I could bawl.
I have absolutely hit a wall.
I'd love to read while curled up in bed,
but we have a late softball game instead.

My grandson who is usually perfection
has been fussy this week with an ear infection.
I care for him, usually, on Thursday and Monday,
but his other caregiver is gone until Sunday.

I am off tomorrow so you think I'd be glad,
but I have to go have a mammogram ... Rad.
The dogs are so needy, they whine and whine,
I can't pee alone because they barge in each time.

Everyone needs something, they push and they push,
and all I want to say to each one is, "Shush!!!"
"Leave me alone, let me have some peace,
or you may find a monster I release."

This, too, shall pass, I know it to be true.
But until then I am likely to act like a shrew.
The weekend is coming, I have nothing planned,
please don't give me anything, that would be grand.

The End.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The End of School

Although I haven't posted about it, we did officially end our school year at the end of April. The last couple of weeks just kind of flatlined as both kids were sick, Eli with an upper respiratory infection and Brynne bookending that with two bouts of stomach flu. It didn't feel like we officially ended anything: we just quit ... hours completed .... done.

Bennett started joining us for school two days a week
while his mama is at work. He liked astronomy.

Brynne did continue to work daily on Study Island in the subjects of math and English because she was going to be sitting for the state MAP test with the public school 6th graders. She did sit for that test starting May 8th, her first standardized test ever. She also got a small taste of school because she got to stay for recess and lunch with the other students. We live in a really small town so she pretty much knows everybody, but it was good for her to be in that environment for a few days. It didn't scare her off so she is all good.

It was obvious we had not been in a school in a long time:
They don't use No. 2 pencils in standardized testing anymore ...
They use computers! LOL!

This summer will be a completely different schooling experience for us. Typically we school part-time in the months of June and July making sure we hit grammar, math, and reading every day. Then we take off the first few weeks of August before we start back full-time. But with Brynne going to public school next year, she doesn't really need to stick with our lessons other than just getting in a good summer of reading.

She has also signed up for summer school with the public school from May 30th to June 30th and will be attending seven different camps for volleyball and basketball. So Eli and I will start back together at the beginning of June to keep him moving in our regular summer studies. Doing school without Brynne will be sad, but I guess I should get used to it.

Overall we had a really great year of school. We did an intensive study of Missouri history, read the Percy Jackson books so studied Greek Mythology and astronomy, and continued on steadily with math, grammar, spelling, and copywork. We had a fun time watching Timeless and researching those times in history, watching The Wheel and studying biomes, and watching The Zoo while learning about the animals and the inner workings of The Bronx Zoo. The kids did a lot of reading, had some enrichment classes at our house with a couple of their friends, and continued with their individual sports activities. Eli also continued with his weekly speech therapy and participated in some educational activities for National Stuttering Awareness Week. It was a well-rounded year, and our last as a little school of three. It was definitely a bittersweet year for me as I watch my two little kiddos blossom into young adults.

Eli's SLP is one of his best friends. And now he's almost
taller than her!