Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Halloween memories...

Two years ago Jake was Mickey Mouse. We didn't even have a digital camera yet, this is one of the first pictures taken with my phone.

Last year Jake was a doctor. Here he is with Olivia, Sara, and Joe.

Jake will be wearing this astronaut costume trick-or-treating tonight.

Robin Hood and Disney

Yesterday was another FULL day. It started at the orthodontist at 8am, where Madi got her broken brackets fixed and ended when we pulled into the driveway at around 10pm. We saw a fun play, "The Somewhat True Tales of Robin Hood" with the homeschool group (Mr Joel from Theatre was the Sherrif of Nottingham), then went to EPCOT (Mr Joel is also the "gameshow host" in the bottom picture where Madi and Hannah are contestants) and the Magic Kingdom with Tiffany and her kids. You can read about it from her perspective here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Home again home again jiggety jig... that from a nursery rhyme or something? It feels like we are constantly coming and going around here. We did have a relatively fun and relatively free few days at a nice resort on Mike's company. Relatively free because food is never cheap when you're away like that. And only relatively fun because Mike was involved with the convention the whole time, so we didn't get to spend anytime with him. We are happy to be home now and looking forward to watching It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, it will be on in 30 minutes!

Jake got a snow-cone at the pool. It was funny because Jonathan said he'd pay for it and Jake could pay him back (they are both rolling in birthday money right now). As it turned out Jonathan didn't have any cash with him, so he put it on his Visa gift card (also a birthday present) this cracked me up! He had to sign for it and everything.

Here's Madi playing BINGO poolside...

And here's Jonathan playing Giant Chess! The kids really enjoyed this.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Daybook...cheating again!

For today Sunday October 26th.

Outside my is chilly, clear and beautiful. I have a bathrobe on and actually just closed the window! Who says we don't have a change of seasons?

I am thinking... about how it doesn't feel like Sunday. We went to Mass last night (Madi and I in Orlando on our way home from seeing the Wizard of Oz...we got free tickets ($50 tickets) from the orthodontist). Mike left at 7 this morning, he is in a golf tournament then has a trade show in St Pete. We will meet him down there this afternoon. We are actually going to do school work this morning, then have a day and a half of rest at a resort. I am also thinking about how I just wore Madi's flip flops to bring out the recycleables and compost! (Jonathan's are too big for me!)

From the learning rooms...Going to try to sqeeze in a week's worth of work in 2 or 3 days.

I am thankful for...our painted stairway, hall and loft! I am also thankful we have many opportunities for "free" fun, like the play yesterday and the resort tonight and tomorrow. Of course with parking, food, gas, etc...we all know nothing is really free, just drastically reduced!

From the kitchen...bread dough is rising.

I am wearing...jammies and my cozy bathrobe (I have freezing bare feet!)

I am reading...The Witch of Blackbird pond with Madi. I plan to really read this Nicholas Sparks book in the next two days, I haven't made the time to get into it yet. I've also been skimming Secrets of the Third Pig about raising resilient children. Our pediatrician always recommends it and I found it at a consignment store on the my home from the pediatrician's office last week.

I am hoping...that the orthodontist can see Madi in the midst of our crazy schedule this week because a bracket already came off and another is loose.

I am creating...a comfortable and attractive loft I hope, it is the one room that has never looked good to me. Now the walls are nice it is time to get the rest of it under control.

I am hearing...Aladdin on TV downstairs although Jake just went outside to play.

Around the house...the new paint makes me so happy!!

One of my favorite things...toast and peanut butter.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...Two nights at a resort, The usual Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday activities, a play (Robin Hood) and then Disney on Thursday, and Friday seems a long way off.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...we'll have to go back to the pumkin patch because this is the only picture that Jake isn't making a silly face in!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Before and After...

Before (with retainer out)...

Before (with retainer in)...

After...yes they are clear!!!



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Decisions Decisions

Mike and I often joke that we made the decision to buy this house faster than some people pick out a Christmas tree. We are going to have our loft and the two-story wall that goes up the stairs painted tomorrow and we technically haven't even gotten the paint yet. It only took about 2 minutes in Lowes yesterday to find a color we like, and today I will need to go to Sherwin Williams and find something similar and buy it. We are flexible and easy. We tend to agree on almost everything and it takes us almost no time to decide things like that. This kids and I will make the hour long drive to the pediatrician's office today for Jake and Jonathan's well check ups. We found this pediatrician shortly after moving here and have gone there ever since. We've also had a few visits to a local pediatrician, but no one is like Dr F, so we deal with the drive and keep going there. Mike has worked for the same company for the almost 10 years that we've lived here and we've been very happy at the same Church this whole time. Jonathan's been doing Theatre for more than half his life, and clearly this activity is a good fit for Madi and Jake as well. My point, is we make quick decisions and stick with them. Put another way, we don't tend to waste a lot of time trying to decide on things. I wasn't always this way. As a child, I remember agonizing over simple decisions like whether I should spend the night at Mugga's or Dotty Kay's house. I'd have a hard time deciding on what friend to invite over as well. Madi is just like me at that age. She often wants me to tell her which cereal she should have for breakfast because she doesn't want to have to choose. Tomorrow she is getting her braces. At her last orthodontic appointment the assistant asked the orthodontist if they could do the clear brackets (as opposed to metal) for Madi because in her words, "She's such a pretty little girl, and on stage all the time." The orthodontist thought it was a good idea and I did too. Who wouldn't right? Well, Madi for one. I have since asked them if she can have the traditional metal ones if she wants, this is fine too. The problem is now Madi has to make the decision. She knows I prefer the clear ones, but she also had been planning on having the "normal" ones for so long she just doesn't know what to do. She has cried about it more than once. Her appointment is first thing tomorrow morning, so there is an end in sight, but in the mean time I know she'll spend a lot of today agonizing over it. I know just how she feels, thankfully I outgrew it, and I'm confident she will too. It is so hard for her right now though. Growing pains. She's so grown up and capable, babysitting and everything. She has no fear of getting up on stage and is in the process of preparing for two major roles right now-- Maybelle in Bridge to Terabithia and ANNIE in Annie!! She is a mature, confident young lady, she is also my sweet, unsure, and undecided little girl. If you think of it, say a prayer for her today.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Jake's birthday party

Simple Woman's Daybook

For today...October 20th.

Outside my is nice and cool! Slept with the windows open and two quilts last night, aaahhhhh.

I am thinking...about many things, but mainly trying to get back in the swing of things.

From the learning rooms...The Civil War has ended, Lincoln has died, and now it is time for Reconstruction.

I am thankful for...the length of time that we had all our our "older relatives" and I'm sad that they aren't with us anymore.

From the kitchen...not sure yet, I have to evaluate what we have, maybe Mexican, probably meatballs in the crock pot tomorrow.

I am jammies {sweat pants and a Red Sox Tshirt--poor Red Sox:( }

I am reading...The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks.

I am have a week that is both restful and productive (is that possible?)

I am creating...a much more organized loft, a neater closet, and a better bedroom for Jake. We moved his train table out (it's for sale any takers?) and put the big square coffee table in there because it is a much sturdier stage for him!

I am hearing...Jonathan and Madi getting their breakfast.

Around the house...we're getting there...inspite of an unexpected trip north followed immediately by a weekend full of performances and Jake's birthday, it's not as bad as it could be.

One of my favorite things...performance weekends.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...hopefully it will be business as usual, schoolwork, babysitting, Theatre (rehersals for Bridge to Terabithia (Madi) and Annie (Madi and Jake) both start this week, AWANA etc... Mike and I are hoping to see Nights in Roadanthe since we haven't made it there yet. Plus Madi gets braces and Jonathan gets glasses this week ($$$$$$$).

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...well we missed the pumpkin decorating and the scarecrow stroll here, but this was what we got instead.

To participate in The Simple Woman's daybook go here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jake is SIX!!!

Can you believe my BABY is six?! Here are six things about Jake in honor of his 6th birthday...

1. Jake's "birth" day was my favorite day ever! He was born at a wonderful place surrounded by wonderful people. Jonathan and Madi were there, and Jake made our family complete!

2. Jake was born to perform...he is in the 7-18 year old class at Theatre even though he is just turning six, he performs nonstop.

3. When Jake likes something he really gets into it. Some of his most recent interests include Aladdin, webkinz, High School Musical, Berenstain Bears books, and Harry Potter Scene It (I know...he's only 6, but he is the third child). He also still loves Veggie Tales, Schoolhouse Rock, the Wiggles, the Laurie Birkner band, and even Barney.

4. He is so smart. He's known the days of the week and the months of the year for as long as I can remember and always knows what day it is. He often uses the phrases "yesterday's yesterday" and "tomorrow's tomorrow" as in Yesterday's yesterday we saw our cousins or we'll go to Disney tomorrow's tomorrow. He is really good with math and reading. He is a fast learner.

5. Behaving is not his strong suit. If he knew bad words he would use them (he says idiot and stupid WAY too often). He is high strung and can turn on a dime. He is not very friendly to people, and I often offer him money to actually look people in the eye and speak kindly to them.

6. Jake has a dynamic personality and there is no way to describe him with only six things...he is bright, funny, cute, cuddly, loving, rude, spunky, creative, shy, outgoing, messy, helpful, silly, talented, interesting, and so so much more. There is a children's book called Quick as a Cricket that describes a little boy who is as loud as a lion and as quiet as a clam, as weak as a kitten and as strong as an ox, as lazy as a lizard and as busy as a bee, etc...etc...this is Jake. And to top it all off, he still comes into our bed almost every night.


We rolled into town last night just in time to see Aladdin. The kids enjoyed a chance to just watch a show. Then we got to our house and had to unload and start the many loads of laundry. Madi is at a "baking day" for AWANA this morning. They are are having a bake sale to earn money for AWANA clubs in Africa (I think). In the meantime I've made Jake's cake, 4 mini pumpkin breads for the bake sale, and brownies for concessions at the Theatre tonight. Jake's Chuck E Cheese birthday party is today and then Aladdin tonight and tomorrow afternoon. Nothing like getting right back in the swing of things. Here's a little preview of Aladdin (in other words this is the kind of thing Jake does in his spare time)...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Great Grandma

As I write this we are driving 65 mph on 95 in Northern VA.The funeral was today and we said a tearful farewell to Great Grandma. What an amazing woman she was. At the age of 17 she and her father left their home in Italy to start a new life in New York. A whole year passed before her mother and younger sister could join them in America. The man who cut her hair was actually from the same part of Italy. They fell in love, married and raised 4 children (Mike's father is their oldest son). Her barber husband passed away in 1986, and she'd been waiting a long time to join him. Great Grandma was a true inspiration to many. Her faith and her family were the most important things to her. She attended Mass daily and had friends who would drive her. A few weeks ago she'd spent some time in the hospital, and as soon as she was released she called her friends to pick her up for church going as far as lying and saying she had permission to go (in reality she really should've been resting and taking it easy). When her daughter, Mike's Aunt Lucy, cleaned out her pocket book this week she found eight sets of rosary beads! We proudly have one of them hanging from our rearview mirror right now. Four years ago we drove north for the big celebration of Great Grandma's 90th birthday. The decorations ( "theme") were pansies--her favorite flower. Yeaterday we were out looking for flowers for the funeral and amazingly found pansies to bring...fall in the north is not a popular time for pansies. We were even able to find a nice decorative basket to put them in. On the card we said, "Rest in Peace Grandma, you are our guardian angel."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Update from the blackberry

I'm hooked on Mike's blackberry. I am sitting at Mike's father's kitchen table updating my blog. We just had some really good bagels. Jake didn't like them, he said it was "too raw"...he meant they were hard and chewy...he doesn't know bagels are supposed to be hard and chewy. I can read people's blogs from the blackberry, but can't figure out how to comment. I just read Sonlightgarden's 100 things post...I really admire her. I was going to say she is my idol, but figured that word wouldn't go over too well! My father's cousin's wake and funeral were postponed until next week, so we didn't make it to my side of the family's neck of the woods. Mike's grandmother's wake is this evening and the funeral Mass is at 10am tomorrow. We will head back home tomorrow afternoon. On Saturday we went to dinner with a high school friend of Mike's and her mother at downtown Disney. They own a toy store in the town Mike's father lives in. Yesterday we went to that toystore.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

daybook at night

For today Sunday night Oct 12

Outside my backseat of the car window it is dark, rainy, and not too much traffic. We are on 95 almost in SC.

I am thinking about how I am attempting to do this without the benefit of copying and pasting the questions. There is not much else to do in this dark car, Mike is still going strong driving, and the kids are sleeping.

I am hearing the radio, a station from Hilton Head that is counting down the top 20 Christian songs of the week.

Around the house...we left it pretty messy.

Around the car...messy too, we'll be living out of it all week.

Not much homecooked food this week.

From the learning rooms we plan to keep up with math and our read alouds this week. Also Jonathan and Madi each have the books they are reading...Madi might read Are You There God it's me Margaret this week, Jonathan is reading The Cricket in Timesquare.

I am still reading Keeping Faith, not sure what I think of it yet. I also have the new Nicholas Sparks book to read. We were planning to see Nights in Rodanthe yesterday, but had the time wrong, that's how we ended up seeing Fireproof...the song from Fireproof is on the radio was SUCH A GREAT MOVIE!!!

One of my favorite things is that our kids are really good travelers...plenty of experience! Sadly they have been to more funerals in the last four years than I had been to my whole life prior to four years ago.

I can't think of anymore questions and I have no pictures to share.

Plans for the week involve two different wakes, a funeral, some crying, lots of visiting, way too much driving, and a lot more time spent on Mike's blackberry.

On the road again...

Mike's beloved 94 year old grandmother passed away this morning. After a ten minute family discussion, we decided the best thing to do was all drive up for the funeral. The kids will miss one or two performances of Aladdin, but we feel it is best for all of us to head up there as a family. Jake's Saturday birthday party is up in the air right now. Two years ago the kids had three great grandmothers and now they are all looking down on us from Heaven. A cousin of my father's passed away yesterday and we will probably be able to go to his wake as well. Please say a prayer for our safe travel and for the healing of all of our relatives dealing with these losses.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Field Trips

Yesterday the kids had a chance to attend a free golf clinic at a nearby school for golf teachers. They will go again next week. Jonathan has done this before, but it was the first time for Jake and Madi.

Last month we went to a local nature center. We usually go there 3 or 4 times a year.

This was actually an "adult field trip" it was advertised in the newspaper as a "naturalist" day. Most of the people there were senior citizens, you just see lots of kids because we were in a group with kids, but there were four groups total (close to 100 people in all).

Looking a tiny butterfly eggs on the leaves.

Checking out a cocoon.

On Tuesday we went on a field trip to the county courthouse where a judge talked to the kids and answered questions for close to two hours.

A friend of Madi's (who is not homeschooled) once told her she is glad she doesn't homeschool because "homeschoolers don't go on field trips". Just in case anyone else assumed that too, these are some pictures of some of the field trips we've been on since the beginning of our "school year". We use the term "field trip" a little loosely, but notice this doesn't even include Jonathan's day in New York City, his chance to go to a Major League playoff game on his birthday or the many times we go to Disney.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The case for FALL

We have lived in Florida for almost 10 years and this year more then ever I have heard so many people complaining about the lack of fall in Florida. Yes, I get the point, we don't have a lot of pretty red, orange, and gold leaves. I like color too, I especially like that we'll still be seeing a lot of green leaves and grass, blue sky, and flowers of all different colors all throughout the year as opposed to the people who may be seeing vibrant fall colors now, but in a few weeks will see nothing buy gray for months on end. And it is true that our highs are still in the 80's. I love highs in the 70's as much as everyone else...guess what... the majority of the next six months will be highs in the 70's...not true for the people with the vibrant colors. I love cinnamon brooms and pumpkin desserts...they smell and taste just as good when you're wearing shorts. Yes, I love to eat a crisp sweet apple right off of the tree, but pretty soon we'll be picking strawberries. We'll also be drowning in lemonade from all of the huge lemons we're getting on our tree. Our kids won't have to wear a coat over their Halloween costumes either!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

School work

Jonathan and Madi are on week 8 of My Father's World 1850-Modern times. We are supposed to finish the Civil War this week, and move on. Yesterday I made the executive decision to stick with slavery and the Civil War for at least another week. There is way to much to learn about this time period and I'm not ready to move on.

Here's Jake working on his math this morning. Yesterday one of the things he had to do was throw a pair of dice then write an addition problem for his roll. Today he wanted to do it again, and he told me, he doesn't have to count all of the dots anymore he can "keep one number in my head" (his words)"then count the rest". Here he is using beans as counters to do some more addition.

We needed a lemon off our our tree for a science experiment to day. Madi took these picture to show how huge they can get. They will ripen on the windowsill.