Planning….

  It's a quiet Sunday.  Tom had to attend a cross-cultural church experience this morning, and the kids and I are at home recovering from a fun night playing cards, swimming in the lake and eating way too much at a friend's house.  Unfortunately, our dear friend also has a cat, a dog, several birds, a couple of hamsters and a snake…and all of those pets have both of the kids still sniffling and puffy eyed.  Hanna even climbed into the "big bed" and is fast asleep.

So we're enjoying a quiet little day.  And I'm enjoying a little time to plan.  The next few months are going to be a bit busy and I need to get them a lot more structured if everything is going to get done.

Tom has a youth retreat in a few weeks in Southern Georgia.  I've debated going and taking the kids, but really don't want to sleep in cabins with my kids and youth kids so I think we're going to stay here.  When Tom is gone for several days, I do try to plan something fun and we just happen to have 3 Disney passes…one of which needs to be used by the end of October.  I think we're going to spend a day wandering around.  Not sure which park we're visiting yet – we didn't get to see all of Epcot, haven't seen any of the Studios and Magic Kingdom is always my favorite.  We'll see. 

My brother Dale is coming to visit for Thanksgiving.  I'm a little excited =)  We're planning lots of fun stuff like visiting the Space Center, hanging out at the Tiki Bar, making him put up my Christmas lights…the kids talk about it daily and seem to enjoy planning out his visit as much as I do.  Of course, they're equally excited that Grandpa and Uncle Roger are coming out in the Spring and already planning for that.

We're also planning to spend our first Christmas in Florida this year, and that's going to be taking almost as much planning as going to California!  I'm going to have to really be on top of gifts this year and make sure I get everything sent plenty early.  And I think I might set up some sort of Amazon Wish List for the kids so everyone can see what they want.  It's kind of cheesy, I know, but it's the best and most convenient idea I've been able to come up with. 

It sounds like Grandma Fee is going to be coming, which will probably make our first holiday here a little easier.  Since we're going to be in our own home, I'm really looking forward to having a live tree and doing a bit more with Advent.

Other plans?

Well, I want to figure out some way to display more of the kids artwork in the house.  They've got an amazing art program at their school and keep bringing home the most impressive stuff. 

 Art 2

Caleb brought this home this week and I'm pretty much amazed.  The fridge is overflowing, so I need to start looking at other ideas.  I'm thinking some sort of frame with a clip to hold the artwork-something  I can change things out regularly.  It's going on my list of projects to get done before Dale comes for Thanksgiving.

I'm also ready to start tackling my photos from our vacation this summer.  I've always known I would do a digital scrapbook and have it printed (over 1000 photos from the road alone).  I found a few templates I'd like to try out to make it easier. 

I haven't scrapbooked since the day I spent at Pocketful of Treasures in July.  And I haven't wanted to.  Part of the issue is that I'm selling so much right now through eBay.  When I have free time to scrap my own stuff…I just don't want to head back into my office.  I've dabbled in digital for a few years and I could never see myself giving up paper and glue, but I think there's room for both.  We'll see.  Usually, whenever I make a statement like this I end up getting a huge burst of inspiration =)

I'm also working on planning out my next few months of sales. I've done a 12 Days of Christmas promotion every year I've sold on eBay starting the day after Thanksgiving…and with company coming I'd better get on top of it now!  

So many things going on already.  It's not even October yet and I fell like the holidays are upon us.  Is anyone else already feeling the rush?

Mom, you know what would be really, really dangerous?

No, what Caleb?

If someone threw a real lion at you.

Yes, I suppose that would.

Day 3 of the summer schedule has not gone as smooth as the previous ones.  The kiddos were up later than usual last night and one in particular seems to be incredibly sensitive to missed bedtimes.  

I am happy to report, though, that I've been out and walking before 7 for the past five straight days and it's been lovely.  A nice reserve of peace and reflection with which to start the day.

And my knees haven't hurt one bit.

Now, as long as I can keep from having a real lion thrown at me I think I should be back on track =)

A new haircut and trip plans

First the haircut….

DSC_0008 last night, while on her way to bed, Hanna called for me to come look at something in the kid's shower.

Normally, this would be a spider or bug of some sort.

Last night, it was hair.

A lot of hair.

And suddenly, the random story Caleb told me about falling in the shower and his head bleeding…the one I immediately thought was a fabrication…made a little more sense.

He used Hanna's razor to shave a chunk of his head. 

And he shaved it pretty close.  It's a bald spot.  He even drew a little blood.

But I thought that was it…until I brushed his hair this morning and noticed the big chunk he cut out of the front (sorry, no picture).  Right about at the same location my sister cut her hair when she was little, but more.  And hers was at least to make a paint brush.  I've yet to get a reason from Caleb as to why he did it.

At least he left some hair there, but not much.

I'm going to have to take him to get it fixed, but I'm not sure how to fix the bald spot.

Or how to get all that hair out of the shower.  I'm thinking I might have to start by sweeping. 

*sigh*

Now the trip…

Here's the general outline of what the trip is looking like so far, taken from Tom's blog with my own commentary added in italic:

Day 1 (July 3rd) - Athens and Atlanta Georgia to visit the Harwell's and the Mock's.  Stopping for lunch at H & H Restaurant in Macon Georgia to pay homage to the Allman Brother Band.  We will also stop by the Rose Hill Cemetery to see the graves of Duane and Berry. Can't waitI campaigned hard to get at least one more night on this leg, but haven't seen much success. 

Day 2 – Nashville, Tense for the 4th.  Visiting family, with a stop at  the site of the Battle of Chickamauga.

Day 3 and 4 – Springfield/Branson, MO.  My pick is a visit to Rocky Ridge Farm, where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the Little House series.  We'll also be spending some time in Branson, which quite frankly scares me just a little. 

Day 5 – Sioux City South Dakota- Just a place to stay the night

Day 6 and 7 – Rapid City, South Dakota – Mount Rushmore, Dead Wood, The Badlands.  Way cool.  Having trouble finding somewhere to stay.

Day 8 – Somewhere in Wyoming? or possibly Colorado?

Day 9 – Somewhere in Utah.  I'm shooting for somewhere between here and one of these.  So, so good!

Day 10 & 11 – Las Vegas.  Kind of the mini vacation at the end of the vacation before the rest of the vacation starts.  We got great rates at the Westin on the strip through Priceline.  I love Vegas.  I don't really care about seeing the shows or gambling,  I just love walking around the hotels. 

Day 12 – Fresno.

If you know of any can't miss stops or restaurants near any of those places, let us know! 

Tom will be in Fresno until the 18th of July.  I have no idea what the schedule will be for the kids and I yet – most of our time will be in Dos Palos, but we'll probably spend a few days in Fresno with Tom before he leaves.  The Velez family has graciously offered to host a little get-together at their home and I'm going to try to make a crop at Pocketful of Treasures. 

And -eek!- we leave one month from yesterday! 

Thankful today…

Pokemon

Thankful today for creativity. 

It plays such big part in my life…the need to create personally, but also the avenues I've been given to create professionally.

And I love seeing creativity awaken in my children.  Drama, music, art, words…while I seek to raise children who above all love and seek God, my next goal is to raise creative children.

A quick picture from earlier this week.  Caleb brought home a Pokemon card from the treasure box at school and decided to make his own with a sheet of computer paper, scissors to cut with, a pencil to trace with, markers for coloring and of course, Mom's corner rounder.  He's been a big fan of that corner rounder pretty much his entire life =)

One new way I'd like to foster creativity – with this.  I've been thinking about getting one for a few months now and I think with the big trip coming up, we're going to order one very soon.  I love that it's small, looks very easy to use and is orange.  We were thinking it might be fun to upload little videos of our progress every night or so while on the road.  It  also struck me that it would be a great tool for the kids to make videos with of all of their plays, songs and such.  

side note: Caleb was singing "Mommy, please dry me off…I am really, really, really, really wet" to the tune of Iron Man by Sabbath last night and I'm kicking myself for not recording it.

Anyone out there have one or ever used one?  What did you think?

oh boy….

There’s a special place in heaven for the mama’s of boys.

I am completely convinced of this.

After weekend of exceptional peskiness, I was so happy to put the kids to bed last night at 8 and go to bed a little early myself…

until I was woken up a little after 11 to a rather funny sound.

Remember the bucket I was so excited about last week?

Well, I left it just outside the shower about half full of water.  It was raining when I showered last night and I was going to wait until morning to dump it on the garden.

But someone beat me to it.

I turned on the light, and there was the boy…ahem….um…shall we say watering?…the bucket. 

Not exactly what I had in mind when I bought that bucket.

We’ve known for a while that he sleepwalks on occasion, but this was new.

I think.

I hope.

I mean, it’s not like he’s the first boy in my family to find creative bathrooms in the middle of the night….

closets, tubs, Lego boxes…

I should probably do a bit more looking.

Six

Birthday_caleb

This boy is six today. I snapped this picture this morning right after he woke up and opened up his present from Hanna (we’re so going to need all of these sets!).

It’s hard to believe.  Seems like just yesterday he was the most serious newborn anyone had ever met.  The nurses in the maternity ward adored him and called him Charlie Brown

He became The Moose very soon after – he was unbelievably strong at a very young age.  When we came home from the hospital, he could lift his head and look around.  No shaking, none of that newborn head bopping they usually do. 

He’s been The Moose ever since.  He’s still strong.  He can still be serious.

Although, now and then I do wonder if he was serious or just trying to figure out how to take things apart, even at a few days old.

It has been an adventure being his mom for the last six years, but one I wouldn’t trade for anything.

We love our Moose =)

***

We also love Aunt Carrie, who Caleb gets to share a birthday with. 

But she’s not six today.

She’s 30.

Happy Birthday to my favorite sister!

Things I Never Expected to Say

Hanna came home running from the bus stop today.  There’s generally only one reason for that, and it usually involves the boy doing something he shouldn’t.  She’s usually quite serious about it, but today she could barely tattle tell me through the laughter.

It seems that the boy took his 2 new pairs of flip flops from Old Navy to school in his backpack today. 

And on the bus after school, he decided it was a good time to change into a pair.

So he did.

Took off his shoes and put the flip flops on…over his socks, of course. 

And put his other shoes in the backpack, because he is generally rather neat and tidy (it helps make up for a little bit of the little boy weirdness).

It was rather amusing to watch him try to walk home in them.  It’s difficult enough to wear socks and flip flops, but Caleb has one foot with a few smaller toes due to a birth defect.  And that foot doesn’t seem to like flip flops under the best of circumstances. 

So now, I add you can’t take flip flops to change into on the bus or to school in your backpack to the list of rules I assumed went without saying.

They’re joining other classics like please don’t lick your sister, underpants do not belong on the ceiling fan and do not spit your half chewed food on my knee unless you are dying.  Or don’t throw the computer mouse at your sister.  And a personal favorite, we probably shouldn’t put claw clips on our body parts.

There are many, many others…too many others.

This boy is a lot of work.

Perspective

It’s kind of funny how the most boring children’s show on the planet becomes infinitely more engrossing when your five year old is reading it all on his own (with just the tiniest bit of help).

I can’t help it. 

I get a little teary-eyed.

Books are such a huge, huge part of my life and it’s been one of my biggest goals as a parent to try to pass that to the kids.

Hanna may be an even more voracious reader than I am, but I’ve always worried about Caleb. Everyone has tried to warn me that boys just don’t read as much as girls do, so I’ve strived to have books that interest him (even if they’re more like science books than my idea of a kids book) and I’m so glad it’s starting to pay off.

I’m one happy Mom tonight =)

And thanks to everyone for their decorating ideas!  I’ve got a list and some ideas…

now I just need money =P

A lot of the living is seeming to hinge on painting (ugh!) and finding the right curtains.  I’ll post more pictures as things get moving.  I think getting Caleb’s room organized is the next priority, but the living room is a very close second. 

And I’m still thinking about this whole living a conscious life thing – how exactly to go about it.  Maybe make it a little more quantifiable.  Like maybe a specific goal or change each week or month or however long it takes. 

Still thinking.

And hoping I used quantifiable in an appropriate manner in that sentence up there!

This boy

Caleb_blog This boy has just about got me at my wit’s end.

Not listening.

Not obeying (you know, on the odd chance that he does listen).

Defiant

Pestering.

Argumentative.

And worst of all, fibbing like crazy.

The first thing out of his mouth is the least likely to be the truth.

Today, I watched him take one of his shoelaces out of his shoe after he got off the bus and sling it around his neck.

And then he flop walked with one shoe barely on down the sidewalk to meet me.

His explanation as to why he had removed the shoelace?

I don’t know.  It just happened.

Which is Caleb code for I did it and I know it was wrong, but I don’t want to get in trouble.

His second explanation?

I had to do it at school because I was cold and needed a scarf on the playground.

Because we all know shoelaces are so very warm when worn as a scarf.

Not to mention the fact that it was a bone-chilling 75 here in Central Florida today.

I honestly don’t know what to do.  Tom is threatening to start washing his mouth out with soap when he lies, but I’ve seen A Christmas Story way too many times and I just don’t think I could do it.  I’ve taken away toys, sent him to his room, made him go to bed early, and have been stressing how important it is to always be truthful (even when it will get us in trouble). 

And I’m praising him whenever he does tell the truth.

Which tends to be rather rare.

I didn’t realize that 5 year old boys were so difficult.  Five has been harder than the 2s, 3s and  4’s combined.   Much harder than Hanna was at this age. 

I know it’s a phase, and he’ll be moving onto something new and wonderful and even more challenging all to soon, but I’m running out of ideas here.

Fleece Davidad!

A little ramble today…

Fleece Davidad!

That’s Caleb’s favorite new song.

I do believe it’s actually Feliz Navidad, but he’s quite certain that it’s Fleece Davidad and is prepared to sing the entire song to prove it.

He’s much more into Christmas music this year than ever before, singing under his breath while he plays and watches television.  It’s alternately adorable, hilarious and annoying. 

Fleece Davidad is my favorite.

And the most mixed up. 

I don’t think he realizes it’s partly in Spanish.
***

I got a little happy mail this week.  I’ve submitted all of four layouts for consideration for publication this year.  Just haven’t had time – the Ebay thing has gone so well and I haven’t scrapped as many personal layouts. 

One of those four layouts got picked up for this publication.

And I was so happy when a box with some goodies and two copies of the idea book were delivered this week.

Even more happy when I was flipping through and found this…
Fast_and_fab_lo_2

You know, I’ve had about 30 layouts in different publications over the last few years, and seeing my layouts in print never gets old.
***

I’m almost finished with my Christmas shopping.  I think I’ve got 3 more gifts to go, and they’re pretty easy ones.  Just waiting for some things to arrive in the mail.

I do have a rather ambitious gift idea that I might try to accomplish for the grandparents and great-grands once we get to California.  Still thinking about it.

I’d be a bit more inclined to feel Christmas-y if it wasn’t in the 80’s today.

It really sucks to run the air conditioner in December.

Oh, and Mom – this is what I want for Christmas =)