More fun in the sun

Before we made the leap from California to Minnesota for the summer, I decided that it was high time the kids had proper swim lessons.  Now, we have a pool in California, so our kids were definitely familiar with water (I mean, hello, my daughter idolizes the mermaid princess for goodness sake!).  And we are all blessed with my Renaissance husband whose talents seem to have no bounds, because in a former life (ie: before me) he was a competitive high school swimmer, life guard and swim coach.  He definitely has the chops to teach our children water skills.  However, as with lots of things, sometimes its simply best to hand over the reigns to a professional.  Well, a current professional who isn’t daddy.  Because lets face it, daughters especially have daddy wrapped around their fingers and sometimes just want to splash around instead of learning how not to drown in the water.

So the kids had swim lessons and loved every second of it!  Welllllllll….. at least 2 out of 3 did.  My SPD kid, who is deathly afraid of the bathtub, wasn’t too keen on getting submerged in a big body of water.  However, even he looked forward to his time with Mrs. Best Swim Coach Ever when it was his turn for pool time after a few rounds of sheer terror (i.e.: simply getting into the water).  I hope every kid gets the experience of a wonderful coach like my kids got this summer, because it made all the difference in the world for their safety, their enjoyment, and momma’s fears of her kids drowning at any moment.

Blake's torpedo arms

This kid is only 4 and check out his near perfect form!  Too say I was impressed would be an understatement.

Brady's pointy elbows swimming

It was difficult to capture, but my 5 year old daughter is already learning ‘chicken arms’ which is the beginning of learning the crawl stroke.  By the end of her 3 weeks of lessons she was already starting to side breathe like a swimming champ.

Now Little Rascal started off his lessons like this…..

Brian touching spa water

….with one hand firmly around his coach and possibly touching the warm spa water.  By the end of his 3 weeks, he was doing such miraculous feats as this….

Brian's torpedo arms

Not only is he displaying fabulous ‘torpedo arms’ as his coach calls them, but he is jumping to her!!!  This is a miracle as far as I am concerned.  My heart swelled with pride for this little dude who overcame so much to do this.

All in all, the kids had a great time and I am wishing that we had a pool here in Minnesota so they could practice their new found skills.

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Spring Recap

As I’m going thru my photos, I have realized there was so much that we have done that I haven’t had a time to share with all of you (and by all I mean one.  Hi mother in law!).  So I thought I’d give you a quick recap this week of some fun things that we had done this past spring before I launch into what we are currently doing this summer.

One of my favorite days was the day we took the kids to the beach.  This was Mr. Sunshine’s first time and if he could talk I’m pretty sure he would yell “This is the best day of my life!!!!”  His joy was contagious.

Ben at the beach

Ben's wrinkly foot

I can’t tell you how excited this little boy is to play in the water.  I mean check out that wrinkly foot?!  He loves the water!

Now for my SPD kid, the beach can be a bit of a challenge.  Check out those hands!  He may have a hard time touching the wet sand, but he is still determined to have a good time.  I was so proud.

Brian at the beach

Some of us decided to fully embrace the sandiness on the beach side.

Blake in the sand at the beach

While others couldn’t get enough of the bitterly cold Pacific Ocean.

Bradyn in the ocean

All in all, this has become one of my favorite family memories.

4 kids at the beach

London Family Fog

Turkey.  Stuffing.  Sides.  Pie.  Laughter.  Joy.

These are the things I look forward to during the lovely Thanksgiving holiday.  Most of these things were served up and went down my gullet just fine.  Although, this year we departed from tradition and celebrated way too early.  In fact, we ate our fancy feast the weekend after Halloween.  We decided that it was more important that we were all together on this celebration than apart on the actual calendar day.  However, along with the delicious food, someone decided to heap this onto my full plate…

Drama.  Chaos.  Internal Family Combustion.

Needless to say our Turkey day wasn’t as awesome as I had hoped for.

Since then I haven’t been able to concentrate or be creative in many ways.  Perhaps this is the reason that every time I have tried to write a blog post, I seem to be unable.  My mind goes blank.  Thoughts drip out of my head like a leaky faucet.  It doesn’t help that during my most potentially productive time, the kids are around and it makes it harder to shut them out focus.

When I’m able to process more and pull my head out of the fog, I’ll update you on what is going on.  But until then, enjoy a couple of cute kiddos.  I do.

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Fried eggs

Crack.  Splat.  Sizzle.

Fried eggs.

THAT is what my brain is like these days.  My husband is in a very busy season.  He is working 7 days a week all day and into the late night.  He is surviving on coffee and sheer determination (me too).  I admire him.

Needless to say, when he is busy, I am busy.  Very busy.  Very tired.  Very crabby.  I can’t even make fully functioning thoughts most of the day.  In fact, I’ve been trying to write this post for the past half an hour and I’ve only gotten this far because I’m watching tv I can’t keep a rational idea in my sleep deprived head .  Daylight savings hasn’t helped either.  The kids have adjusted faster than I have.  My eyes open and my brain says “GET UP.  WE HAVE WORK TO DO”, but my body has “SUN SUN GO AWAY COME AGAIN ANOTHER DAY”.

I don’t know if you know, but kids are needy.  *snicker*  3 boys in diapers (don’t even talk to me about my failure to potty train my 3 year old!  UGH), 1 crawling and constantly hungry baby, 1 sensory perception disorder kid, 1 homeschooled kindergarten and 0 help.

I’m tired.  Scratch that.  I’m exhausted.  Scratch that.  I’m like a car with the low fuel light on practically outta gas.

The silver lining is that this is a great time to lift up my husband to my kids and tell them often about the hard work that he is doing for them and for me.  It was precious to hear my kids praying and thanking God for daddy working hard for them.  Understanding that daddy is a man who works hard is a good example not only for them, but for their expectations in their future spouses.  Instead of moaning and grumbling about how hard it is for me (and it truly is) I tell my hubby thanks for working hard for our family.

But with him unavailable to help with the family, I’m not gonna lie, I have visions of nannies dancing in my head.

A stay at home mom can dream.

Harvest Festivities

*Warning: Full Blown Photo Dump Post*

Before my full time job as mommy, I worked in various retail jobs (as well as a plethora of other random jobs) since I was 17.  It took a toll on my joy for celebrations.  In other words, I began to hate holidays.  ALL holidays.  The commercialism of it all exposed the awful side of humanity.  I vividly remember a conversation I had with an elderly woman during the supposedly most wonderful time of the year and she was yelling at me.  YELLING.  I was actually trying to help her, but she just refused to listen.  These are the moments where you just want to curl up and go home.

After leaving my last retail management job, it took me YEARS to finally be ok with celebrating holidays.  To not hate their very existence.  Once I had children, I began to see the magic again.

Halloween has always had a fun place in my heart.  That might seem weird since I’m a Christian, but I’m also an actor, and what is more fun than dressing up, becoming another character and getting massive amounts of candy for it???!!! It’s a brilliant holiday I tell ya.

This Halloween season we tried to really live it up.  We wound up going to 2 pumpkin patches and going to our church for their annual trunk or treat event.

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Checking out the petting zoo portion of the pumpkin patch

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Bunnies!

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Little Rascal couldn’t get enough of all the animals.

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Hey, I’m actually in the picture!  That’s such a rarity.  Too bad I didn’t put myself in a co-ordinating orange shirt.  Doh!

At the 2nd pumpkin patch/farm, the kids got to ride ponies.  They LOVED it.  Seeing their pure joy was priceless.

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Little Rascal was so dazzled by the pony that I couldn’t ever get a good picture of him.

Next up, a huge tractor slide…

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“Hey mom, I’m here too!”

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Pumpkin patch to being a pumpkin.  Seems about right.  (Also, it was Little Rascal’s costume last year.  Score)

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Its been a really fun time celebrating pumpkins and family time.

*Could I put the word pumpkin in this post anymore?  Pumpkin.  Oh Pumpkin spice is officially done for the season at Star-$$$.  So so so sad.  Bye Pumpkin Spice Frap!  I will miss you dear sweet friend!*

 

 

California boy fun

*Warning to sensitive vegetarians.  This post contains graphic words about eating animals*

Out here on the west coast we are lucky to be near the ocean.  And you know what lives in the ocean?

YUMMY FOOD!

My guy likes to hang out with his buddies and go lobster fishing in the dead of night.  They leave around dinner time and don’t come home until 4 (ish) in the morning.  Its a brutal time frame, but that’s when the biting is good for these creepy creatures of the sea.

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This particular catch was one of the BIGGEST lobsters I HAVE EVER SEEN.  It was amazing!

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Here’s the fisherman in his natural habitat.

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Looks like they caught their limit!  *7 a person*

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Oh and a baby SHARK.  No no no he did not keep it!

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Here’s the loot at home.  The kids are always curious to see the still-alive lobsters.

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They are listening to see if they can hear them breathing.  Or at least scratching the side of the cooler.  Which is totally bizarre and creepy actually.

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Music Man has to keep them alive until he is ready to kill them (cuts off their heads and hands) and freeze the tails.

This is an activity I fully support.  Fill up my freezer with lots of yummy lobster?  Don’t mind if you do.  😉

Chocolate to my ears

Last year I had decided to be involved in 2 different co-ops.  Well becoming involved in those things prevented me from participating in previous activities that I loved with the kids.  Specifically, my church hosts a gym/music type of event, very gym-boree like.

I really missed it.

Now that I have with trepidation wisely paired down our schedule, we now have time to go back to playing.  IMG_6856

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It felt really good to simply play with my kiddos and enjoy them.  Hearing their sweet giggles is like chocolate to my ears.  At one point Mini Man was literally running and yelling “I’M HAVING A GOOD TIME!”  I laughed so hard I thought I’d bust a gut.

This is why homeschooling rocks.  Who wants to miss this?

*please excuse the poor quality of pictures.  I only had my phone*

 

Double the birthday cake

We were blessed to be invited to another birthday party recently, this time it was for my sweet little niece.  She turned 7 and since she is 1/2 Filipino, it is customary to have a big celebration of this particular milestone.  She had her party at the Science Museum which was a great field trip.  Counts as school right?  Right???  lol

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Here is daddy and Ariel checking out how high you can project a tennis ball.

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It soars in the air!

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Here is Miss Ariel pulling a giant lever

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PULL baby girl!

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Next we played with wheels to see how fast they go

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Weeeeeee!

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But the real treat was the ‘special guest’ Elsa who took pictures with each and every one of the kids who wanted to, told the Frozen story, and even sang the hit song Let It Go (which was highly impressive given that she was accompanied by a measly cd player and surrounded by a pleather a of professional musicians).  She did a lovely job.

Grandpa Music Man’s birthday was just 2 days later, so we all piled into my brother in laws house and took over for a lovely family dinner and celebration.

Happy Birthday just got bumped up a notch with an entire family of musicians.

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Hello…. there’s a violin involved!

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My man….  *swoon*

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And the birthday boy himself… taking a picture of his own cake.

Family time is always so sweet and this was a lovely time.

Shame is hot

It’s been quite the whirlwind of activities recently.  I feel like the energizer bunny, always going going going.  And after looking through our pictures I realize that I might have to break up our recent adventures into a couple of posts.  We have been very busy!

Here was a birthday party at the local ice skating rink (when it was over a 100 degrees outside so it was pretty awful getting dressed up in warm weather gear, but boy was it lovely inside!)

These two were really excited to put on ice skates for the very first time ever.  (Hey they are California kids after all)

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Daddy did a great job

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despite the fact that Mini Man hated every second on the ice

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Even big sister is trying her best to encourage him… and show off some new skills of walking/skating backward.  She’s already way ahead of me on the skills list!

Here is Little Rascal waiting patiently for his turn with skates.  He’s learning his abc’s while he waits.  That counts for school right?  Right???

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Momma also hanging out with this sweet bundled up little guy

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Ok its now Little Rascal’s turn!

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Despite that raging 90’s mid-drift, he loved it!  Daddy was proud.

Ok, so it wouldn’t be exactly right to not tattle on myself and the big blunder I made during our outing.  While Music Man and children were out on the ice, I was casually hanging out with my little guys.  As you can see above, at one point Little Rascal was playing with daddy’s phone.  Daddy comes off the ice to drop off a crying kid (#2) and got back out there.  In that quick span of time I look back and realize that LR no longer has the phone.  I FREAK OUT.  I’m practically in tears after a solid 10 minutes of “where’s the phone Little Rascal?  No seriously, where is it?!?!” and looking everywhere I can think of in the tiny area that we were in.

I desperately went up to the random guy who had previously “ooooh”ed and “aaaahhh”ed over my sweet peas with his family.  I saw that he had a phone that looked exactly like everyone else’s Music Man’s.  I desperately blurted out “hey is that our phone?”.  I didn’t mean to imply that he had stolen it, but rather that he might have seen that it had fallen on the ground and he was a good samaritan and perhaps had picked it up.  It was his.  He told me so a couple of times to prove his innocence.  I felt like a JERK.  He then began looking with me.  I finally found an employee and asked if they had a lost and found (despite the fact that I had lost it within a 10 minute max time span, but I was desperate peeps).  After practically being in tears (ok ok so there might have been one tear that had made its way out of my eye duct), and half shouting to my kids “your dad is going to kill me!”, Music Man casually strolls in.  I finally confess that the phone is nowhere to be found.  He cocks his head and dramatically says “I told you it was in the diaper bag”.

Oh yah, the only place I didn’t look.

I went back to the nice non thief guy and uttered my sincerest apologies for even suggesting that he might have taken my phone and thanked him for his help.

I really couldn’t have left there fast enough.

In case your wondering shame is a hot feeling.  So it was nice that we were at a freezing cold ice rink.

Friday fun day

Last week I started a Friday fun day.  I introduced the paint for the easel that Little Rascal got for Christmas.  Yah, they had never actually used it for its intended purpose.  Why?  Well, like most moms I’m not a fan of messy play.  Lately I thought, there will be no other chance for the kids to do messy play, because they are home with me ALL.THE.TIME.

So messy play on Fridays, like painting or play-doh or whatever, was born.  Its been a big hit.

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Even Bat-man is interested in what’s going on

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She was ‘eating’ a play-doh pie

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This has been great for them and for me.  It allows room to breath in the week.  It gives us all a chance to relax.  I can be in my pajamas and drink coffee and catch up on whatever I want (laundry, emails, blogging, reading, etc.).  This time has been SO needed.  I’ve been putting my whole self into this new found ‘project’ of homeschooling that I’m finding it takes up all the space in my brain and body.  I’m constantly thinking about it, constantly doing something for it.  Its exhausting.  And I’m sure there are plenty of people who say “oh just relax and let them have fun.  They will eventually catch on”.  Um, NO.  Well, yes and no.  Yes, its important to play, which I’m happily allowing ample time for them to do that, but its not true that they will just ‘catch on eventually’.  I have seen several middle schoolers and high schoolers who homeschool and struggle with their reading and writing.  Education is important to me, if it wasn’t I wouldn’t be putting my whole heart and soul into trying to educate my children.  But life can’t always be about drills and workbooks (don’t worry, we don’t do that that much anyway).

It’s important to live life too.  And not get burnt out.