Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literary Skills --- oh my! That is a mouth full. No wonder they call it DIBELS. It is a test for grades K-2. I had never heard of it. Did your kids have to take it? My 5 year old took it today and I was proud of him. An average score for a K-er is an 8 and he scored a 12. Then on the letter recognition, the average K-er should know 9 letters in 60 seconds and my son knew 28. YAY!!! :) I was proud of him. He did struggle for part of it. He's used to watching my teeth and lips to figure out sounds and he couldn't see his teacher (b/c it's a virtual school so it was online) and he couldn't figure out that she was saying the /s/ sound. Oh well. He still did awesome! YAY Collin!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Parties, food, Mi-Mi, and BELTS!! :)

Today was an exciting day. First, we had to get school done. We didn't quite finish it all before 11 but we got all but two classes (don't worry, we finished them later). From 11am-2pm was Collin's Back2School party!! Yay!! All the kids in the virtual school in our county (98 of them) met up at the local putt-putt place. I was able to take Ronni too. The three of us played putt putt and ate (hotdogs, chips and drinks) for free. The kids also got a handful of tokens for the arcade games and a token to the batting cages. Awesome! Ronni had never been to play putt putt and neither of them had never been in the batting cages before. Unfortunately, I completely forgot my camera for this event... blast! So, I have no pics to show. I did learn that Ronni may be pretty good on a softball team. Collin, not so much. ;) He put forth good effort though... he'll probably just stick with TaeKwonDo (which I'll mention here in a minute).

Then, my mom came!! YAY!! She lives on the coast and with the approach of Hurricane Irene we thought it would be better if she hung out with us tonight. So, my mom (Mi-Mi) came to our house tonight. Yay! That isn't the only reason she came. She also came to watch.....
Yeap! I have a first level yellow belt!! YAY!!! He was tested today!! Isn't he a cute little yellow belt! I think he's pretty awesome!
Then, Paul cooked dinner! OH yeah! I have an awesome hubby too. :) He made homemade lasagna, tomato salad with homemade croutons, bacon and cheese jalapeno rellenos, and cheese cake for dessert. Isn't he just awesome? It was wonderful too. Actually, I think I'm going to go and get me a slice of cheese cake right now. =o)

I'll post the video of his testing later. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Butterfly Circus

This was an absolutely AMAZING video. Both videos are only 10 minutes long so it won't take you too long but I recommend you watch it. =o) Loved it!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Day in My Life. :)

I don't know if you all remember the post about the dentist receptionist who said, "just stay home" to me on the phone implying that I just sit around my house... if you don't then check it out here. For some reason, after this experience, I felt it necessary to post a day in my life. It's pointless posting it here b/c most of my readers are moms anyways. I think it will still make me feel better. ;) This was the other day and there were no errands or appointments or anything... yay! 

My day started at 6am when my husband woke me up, as he does ever morning for prayer, as he left for work. That's when I get up for some "me" time. I read my scriptures and say my prayers and then read on my Nook (or check my websites if that's what I feel doing).

7am - Ronni came into my bedroom with a defeated look on her face. "Mommy, I peed and now my underwear and bed are wet." She looked so pitiful. I can't even remember the last time she had an accident but she did last night. I got up and she changed her clothes while I stripped the sheets from her bed. Then, I saw Collin's bed and figured, 'might as well.' So, I stripped his bed as well and threw it all in the laundry. Then I fed the animals - Baker, Miss Callie, Arwen, and Sushi (yes, Sushi is our fish). Then, Ronni and I headed outside to take the plastic bottles to the recycling bin.

7:30am - Phonics lesson with Ronni.  We use the letter magnets and sing "Old McDonald Had A Farm" but instead of having animals, Old McDonald has letters and then they say their sounds. So, an example... she is holding A in this picture and singing A so I'll use that. "Old McDonald had a farm E I E I O. And on this farm he had an A, E I E I O. With an ah, ah here and an ah, ah there, here an ah, there an ah, everywhere an ah ah. Old McDonald had a farm. E I E I O." hehe! Okay, a little cheesy but it's fun for her. =o)

Collin woke up around 8am so then it was time for me to get their breakfast while they took showers and got dressed. Here was breakfast.... super simple but they take quick showers so not a lot of time.
Then it was my turn for a shower and for all of us to do our morning chores. After the chores we needed to start school. I have a list of all the subjects we need to do each day and I let Collin choose from those subjects. Of course, he chose art first.
The kids learned about portraits and self-portraits. We looked at some famous paintings and then I let them go to work painting their own portraits. They ended up quite... um... interesting.

That took so long that by the time we finished it was already 10am -- snack time!
I don't like to waste food so they had their leftover fruit from breakfast for a snack. ;) hehe! Yeah, I'm one of those evil moms. Collin was frowning b/c there was a soft spot on his plum. He ended up eating it anyways.
Then it was time for Social Studies. The kids learned how to respect the flag and what the Pledge of Allegiance means. Now we start each day with the Pledge of Allegiance. It's pretty cool.
History! I love history. Right now they are learning geography.
They were coloring a coloring sheet of different places around the world -- like the great wall of China and the Amazon, the Sahara desert... things like that. We also sang a fun song to help us remember the names of each continent. :)
Langage Arts is one of my absolute favorites!! We had been learning about the classic story of Cinderella. This day we were acting out one of the scenes... the scene where the courier was trying the slipper on the mean stepsisters to the end. I was the stepsister, Ronni was Cinderella, and Collin was the courier. Since the mean stepsisters' feet were bigger than the slipper in the story, we used Ronni's shoe. Trust me, Collin didn't get it on me!! haha! Here he is putting it on Ronni and if you notice the other one is poking out of her pocket -- she was ready to give it to him when the other fit.

It's already lunch time!!
I forgot to get a picture of the kids' food before I gave it to them so you just got a shot of mine but they had the same thing... :)
After lunch they both take a little rest and watch ONE TV show that they both have to agree on. Collin also had a fever this day so he wasn't feeling well anyways. This is my opportunity to get a few more chores done (like rotating those sheets of Ronni's into the dryer so they would be ready for bedtime). Then, after the show it's time for Ronni to go down for a nap (some days it's quiet time... as long as she is calm) so Collin and I can get some work done that is hard with her running around.

Nose back to the grindstone... time for some phonics, handwriting and math.

I didn't get a picture of him doing math but... really... it was just a bunch of 2-D shapes spread out all over the table and us making a bunch of patterns. :)
By the time math was over Ronnie's nap was over too. *sigh* It went by so fast. Time to play a game and the game of the day was .... Elefun!
Then time for some laundry folding and putting away dishes... what? Dinner time already! *sigh*
Hamburger Helper and green beans okay? Yeah, I was a slacker that day.

Then some family time with the hubby!! :) We love singing with the uke in our home!! :) So fun! =o) Then, it was time for me to go to a writing group meeting that night.
Nook, notebook and bearclaw... really, what more does a girl need? Drats!! I realized I forgot to put the sheets back on Ronni's bed. Oh well, Paul would figure something out. (He just used the blankets I did at nap time.. whatever... it worked!)
10pm... home! Oh!! I forgot to make Paul's lunch.
All I needed then was the bed and my Nook and I was a happy mommy. So, yeah, I stay around the house all day but I am constantly doing something. I love it! So, here was an average day in the life of me -- except for the TaeKwonDo, gym, dentist appointments, playgroups, meetings...etc and other things that often take up my day too. Since Collin had a fever, we went no where. It was nice!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Minute Maid Juice

I was sent coupons for the Influencers program with CM. YAY!! I love free stuff but I really love free stuff that we buy anyways -- like juice. :) My kids LOVED IT!! We were asked to buy the apple juice but they were out of apple juice so we got the mixed berry and fruit punch. I didn't realize until later that these are loaded with sugars. The apple juice, at least, is 100% fruit juice. That's what we like to drink around here. :) The kids still love it and we'll drink it. If we buy Minute Maid again then I'll be reading the labels a little better so I don't end up giving my kids sugar water that's flavored with juice. Still... they are enjoying it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

There's a robot watching TV in my living room!!!

I walked in my living room and saw this:
This is what happens when I leave my husband and my son alone with a box, tape and scissors. Collin told me that the flap over his eyes is his shield. He said, "Knights only had a slit for their eyes in their armor. I'm like a knight but a robot." haha! Okaaaaay..... Here's a shot with the "shield" up. =o)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Flat Travelers in WY w/ Nana & Papa

These flat travelers wen to WY to the kids' g-parents who are serving a mission in WY as pioneers with handcarts. Fun, right? =o)

"Hey, we made it safe and sound to Nana and Papa's. This
is one nice place to be and we are going to have fun exploring. 
Nana didn't give us much time to rest from our long trip from 
South Carolina to here.We had to go straight to work."
"We helped with the flags to park handcarts. Collin got a little lazy and wanted to lay down but he soon found out I needed his help holding the flag up. Then we played hide and seek with Nana."
"Do you see us?  We thought we hid real well in the flags but Nana
 found us right away.  So we went outside
and hid in the sagebrush."
  "Do you see us? We did better this time. In fact, we had to yell 
real loud so she would remember to take us
home after working." 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sink full of cat!!

Baker, our cat. Isn't he adorable? LOL! I went into the bathroom and I guess I woke him up. I thought he looked super cute so I decided to share! :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mom Qualifications

I read an article called Getting Beyond Motherhood as Political Qualifications. It discussed about how motherhood comes up when someone is running for a political office and it's normally as a bad thing. When men run, fatherhood is rarely brought up and I have never heard it referred to as something bad but good. Why not good for moms too? It made me think about my life as a mom and I realized that it's much more demanding than any job I've ever had. I mean, I get yelled at if I don't do my job quick enough, I have to be excellent as a multi-tasker, I must have great people skills and know how to talk to multiple groups of people, I have to be creative and think fast on my feet. How could this not make a mother good for almost any job out there? I just think it's interesting how the world looks on motherhood. It is just one of those incredibly difficult jobs that is often under appreciated. I called to schedule a dentist appointment for my kids the other day and the receptionist asked me what day was best. I said that I was pretty flexible. Her response was, "You must just stay at home then?" There was a condescending tone in it that made my heart rate increase but I pretended I didn't hear it and just continued scheduling. Just because I'm flexible doesn't mean I'm not doing anything. It just means I can rearrange the day.
I am just so grateful that I do get to stay home with my children and that they even if it is "just staying home" to some people, it's so much more to me.


 Have you ever noticed that sometimes, as parents, we want things done right and so we "forget" to include our children in our daily activities? I tend to do that a lot -- especially with kitchen duties. It is just so much easier for me to do it instead of letting the kids do it and then fixing what they do and cleaning up their mess. So, today I decided that they could do something. Whatever they wanted and I wouldn't interfere. When I asked them they said they wanted to make cookies. Okay, I may have cheated a bit on this one because I just happened to have some break and bake cookies in the freezer. So, they broke them and placed them how they wanted to. They weren't in straight lines and they weren't evenly placed. I didn't touch them. I left them exactly where the kids put them and ya know what --- they came out tasting just like chocolate chip cookies should. =o)

Brilliant Writer Award

My blog was awarded the Brilliant Writer Award by Deirdre Coppel, the author of Knight of Light, which she is currently seeking representation for, book cover illustrator and the author of the blog A Storybook World. 

Thank you Deidre for the compliment!! :)

Mom is a person too!!!

I am a mom but I am a person, too. I married young, I was nineteen and I don't think I had really figured out who I was yet or what I wanted to do with my life at the time. I am so grateful for my husband and my children but I do wish that I had the opportunity for a little more self exploration before becoming a mom. Let me be clear, I don't regret anything about my family. I just wish I knew more of myself first. I was pregnant with our first baby only a month after we were married; I was on birth control so I'm sure that little boy was supposed to be here. I was married at nineteen and then had our first baby, David, shortly after I turned twenty.
David was born prematurely so Paul and I weren't even married for a year yet and we were spending our days in the NICU at the hospital thirty minutes from our little home. Five months later, he died. My husband and I were thrown into a difficult situation early in our marriage and I still had no idea who I was. I was in mourning and ignored my growth and development and focused on what I didn't have. Finally, we had another child two years later and I felt it was time to figure it out but I worked full time and was a mommy and a wife. Who was I? I still didn't know. We adopted another child two years and I did the best thing I could have --- I became a stay at home mom.
Being a stay at home mom wasn't quite what I thought it would be. I wasn't sitting down on the sofa watching movies and eating bon-bons all day like I expected. I was busy chasing children but I got to know them better and I got to know myself a bit more too. I stay busy though. 

So, the question I was recently asked was, "how do you define yourself?" Being a mom takes up so much of my time so when people ask me questions like this I really have to stop and think. Before, I couldn't have answered. I just stood there with a blank expression on my face. I still have a blank expression but I know me a little bit more. I am a mom first and foremost but I am also a reader, a writer; I am a wife and a friend; I am a sister and a daughter. I am more than a mom... I am a person.

I have learned more about me and who I am but I have also learned that I will continue to learn more about myself every day of my life.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Courageous Collin

I will tell you about a courageous Collin moment. :) I was so proud of him. We were at the park a few days ago and there were a lot of kids there. School isn't back in yet here so, while Collin wasn't the youngest at the park he was certainly not the oldest either. There were actually quite a few big kids (probably tweens/pre-teens... whatever they're called now). Some of these big kids were picking on a little girl who was about Collin's age. He stepped up in front of them and told them that they needed to be nice. Collin only came up to their chests and there were three of them. They didn't like this little kid telling them to be nice so they pinched his arm. Immediately, Collin ran up to me and, instead of telling me about the kids pinching his arm, he told me there were some kids picking on a little girl and I needed to help her. So, I followed him. Apparently the kids saw that he came to me and ran up to me and said, "If he's telling you that we pinched him... well, we did but it was because we thought we were grabbing that little girl's arm." 

I froze, "You pinched his arm?"

Then, it was their turn to freeze. Their faces looked completely confused so I replied, "He said some big kids were picking on a little girl." They were totally shocked by this and by then their camp leader was walking over so I let her handle it. I pulled Collin to the side and saw there were big red marks on his upper arm and I couldn't even be angry. I was a little frustrated those kids behaved that way but I was so proud of my son for being courageous and standing up to the bigger kids and not fighting them when they pinched him. He knows how to fight but he chose not to and he did what he was supposed to and went to an adult. He stood up against kids who were much bigger than him and outnumbered him. 

In today's world it is so important for kids to know how to be courageous, even when their peers are telling them to do otherwise. I am glad that I have done something right in Collin's life for him to have courage.

*To update you on the park situation: the little girl who was getting picked on played the rest of the time with Collin and Ronni and she was absolutely adorable!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Our Precious Little Girl

Little Ronni. She is absolutely adorable. I cannot believe how big she is getting. She will be four years old in November. Wow!! She is our little Sunbeam and she truly is a little sunbeam. It seems like just yesterday that she was placed in our arms. But, she was a bit smaller that day and looked a bit like this:
She was placed with us in July '08. I am so grateful to her birthmother for being so selfless and choosing us to care for this precious little girl! :) Anyways, I'm all sentimental about her today because of a conversation she and I just had. Paul and I always say that her biggest Christ-like attribute is her empathy. She asked me what my dad's name was, so I told her. Then she said, "But he died."
I nodded, "Yes, when I was two years old."
Then her tears started flowing as she reached out and gave me a big hug, "but who will be your dad?!" Awwww..... the poor girl.
A little later it was nap time. Yes, that wonderful time for mommies but dreaded by children everywhere. I told her to go to her room and she yelled, "I don't love you anymore!"
A few minutes later I heard her crying again so I opened the door to check on her and she ran up to me, wrapped her arms around me and squeaked out, "I didn't mean that I don't love you. I do love you." LOL!! Poor little thing.
I cuddled with her for a moment and told her that I knew she loved me. Then she said, "Do you still love me even though I told you I don't love you?"
"Of course I do!"
Lol!! Silly, adorable girl! She is asleep now. So, while the drama is down I am going to read and then I will enjoy my hormonal 3 year old when she wakes up. =o)

More Flat Travelers

We have had such a great response that we made more Flat Travelers. I just hope that some of the people who we are sending them to will send us some too. :) We want to host some flat travelers. =o)

Collin has a scientist, taekwondo boy and an astronaut and Ronni has a princess, an African girl and a taekwondo girl. We are sending out our first set to OK today. :) Hopefully the others will get me their addresses soon so I can ship theirs to them. Fun fun!! I am so excited about these little flat people.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Our Flat Travelers

Have you heard of the children's books series called Flat Stanley? It's about a boy who is as flat as paper and he travels all over. Well, there is a whole "race of people" called Flat Travelers. hehe!! We have decided to make some friends with the flat travelers. What you do is you make your own flat traveler or paper doll. Then you send him/her and a journal to someone else who lives in a different region and they journal/scrapbook their adventures with the flat traveler they are hosting in their home. Here are some links for your own flat travelers. If you want a Stanley then try this link.
The "Original Flat Stanley Project" has some free templates here:
Then, we used this site for making paper dolls:

Collin originally wanted Cyclops from X-men to be his flat traveler but I couldn't find a good picture to work for it. He ended up with an astronaut and Ronni picked out a girl from Africa. The paper doll site was neat b/c we could print out the body (in underwear), the hair and the clothing separately so we could personalize them for my kids. It was pretty fun. I have seen pictures where people laminate pictures of themselves or they just draw their own random pictures. Here are our flat travelers (the kids did all the gluing themselves and SOME of the cutting):
Right now they are drying. Now we need to laminate them, buy a couple of journals and then mail them out. So excited!! We are hoping to get to host some flat travelers soon too!! YAY!!

For more information check out these sites: