Friday, May 25, 2012

Nunnie School

So I have started "Nunnie School" with my Kaitlyn. She is needing something more structured during the day while Mack is away at school and Brian has been wanting me to give her some more guided instruction, so this has been the result. So far it has gone well, but the main thing I have to remember about my youngest girl is that she DOES NOT function well right after waking up or without a full tummy. So by keeping that in mind I think we have been able to get some good "lessons" in each day. It hasn't happened at the same time everyday because things come up, but I like flexibility in my day so it works for us. I have been basing our lessons off of the Brightly Beaming preparatory curriculum over at I have also added some extras and tweaked it a little to fit Kaitlyn. I have also supplemented with a workbook to reinforce letters, shapes, colors, numbers and encourage her use of a pencil. I plan on adding a cutting exercise each week also so that she can work on that coordination.

This is something that I probably should have done with Mack too, but to be honest, she LOVES to learn so much that I never felt like she needed as much direct teach in order to learn her basics. She sought to learn those things on her own so I didn't force too much on her. Kaitlyn is a bit more reluctant. She is smart but does not go out of her way to learn new things and has mostly picked things up along the way. I  am hoping that by doing "Nunnie School" she will gain a love a learning and start to seek out more information on her own. Here are a few pictures from our first week!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 4 & 5

Day 4: fun!

This zoo is awesome because you can feed the giraffes which is ALWAYS fun! It was a nice family day at the zoo :) 

Day 5: bird


Friday, May 4, 2012


Brian and I are coming up on our 4th wedding anniversary. I have avoided EVER writing about our marriage because...well, honestly I felt like 'what could I possibly know about marriage this early on?'.  I mean, I feel like I can write about mothering and my new hobbies, so why have I felt like I was not qualified to speak on marriage? I have been a mother longer than I have been a wife, but only by 10 hobbies I have started after I got married so those have had an even shorter life span. And yet, I have felt unqualified to speak on marriage. Even my own marriage!

But here it is.

Four years later and this is what I have to say for me and my husband: I LOVE MARRIAGE! I know that it isn't perfect. And it isn't always pretty, but so far it basically just seems like fun! The person I CHOSE to spend my life with makes me laugh. Daily. Maybe even hourly (when he's home, of course). He is the best dad I know. He is the  best husband I know. I nag him sometimes. I feel needy sometimes. I even get mad at ridiculous things that are out of his control, but I love being married to him and I am *pretty sure* he enjoys being married to me.

The thing that has surprised me most about marriage is how comfortable it is. I love not feeling self-conscience. I love that even on my crazy days I am loved. NO MATTER WHAT. It is easy to feel unconditional love for you children. Even your pets! But for some reason people find it hard to find that same unconditional love in their partners THAT THEY CHOSE. I make a conscience decision daily to love B. I try and do something daily that will make him smile. I want to be his "dream girl".

I am not going to lie. I appreciate every single time he has come home to say that someone in his office has told him he has a cool wife because of something I have done for him. I like being the "cool" wife. I like that he feels he has something to be proud of when he talks about me. But that's not why I do those "cool" things. I do them because I know that he has his own needs. Separate from my own. Separate from anything that I can even understand. Just like I have my own needs that he has somehow managed to accommodate without fully understanding.

I pray that in another 3 years, when we hit that "7 year-itch", I will feel the same way I do now. I want to be able to look back on this post and have the same feelings about marriage that I do now.

Day 3

Day 3: something you wore today

I absolutely love my Toms and cannot wait until I can get some more pairs :) 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Photo A Day

I am going to *ATTEMPT* to do a daily picture. I pinned a "photo a day" for May on pinterest that I want to try and do. I am already a day behind though. OOPS! But I have pictures for both so that is what counts. At least in my mind...

Day 1: Peace

Ok, seriously? How could you not love that face??? She might not have an official name yet, but she is very much a part of our family now. I love her a little bit ;) 

Day 2: Skyline

On almost any other day I would have been able to capture a beautiful skyline at this time of day (6 P.M) but of course on this day, there are clouds totally covering up our view of Pike's Peak.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dancing In Heaven

I am so glad that I decided to go to church today. The yucky, snowy wind almost kept me home, but I would have missed a very powerful message. It actually had me in tears by the end, which is VERY rare for me.

We have been going through a really awesome series called, "Think Again- Truth, Doubt and Questions that Matter" with this week focusing on the question of whether there is life after death. It really made me think about how I view this life and how I should be living with the view that THIS IS NOT IT. This is not all of it. In fact, this is the hard part. Once we die and move one with Jesus in our heart, we get to experience joy like we can't even imagine.

My church experienced the death of a young man, 20, last weekend due to a climbing accident. They showed a couple clips from his memorial service that were so eloquent and heartfelt that a million memories of my dear friend, Erica Nicole Smith, who died in December '07, came flooding back to me.  And thus released my tears. She died as a result of a drunk driving accident and negligent paramedics. ( It was a horrific, tragic, horrible thing that happened to an amazing girl. It was a  long 4 years before Jenny Ybarra, the woman responsible for the accident went to trial and it seemed like it dragged on forever before she was convicted of intoxication manslaughter. But then another devastating blow came to those who were so invested in seeing justice served; she only received a 2 year prison sentence. (
I needed to hear the words of the pastor to really remember that although we do not feel as though justice has been served for Erica, there is a higher power that will bring justice.

I miss Erica all the time and she is on my mind often. I absolutely do not think it is a coincidence that she was in her car accident exactly one year before my Kaitlyn was born. She was a beautiful, hilarious, passionate, wonderful person who is missed by so many who believe that she died early. That she died an untimely death. But something else that our guest pastor said struck a cord with me. When he was speaking of the young man, Ryan, he said, "He didn't die an early death. He died a young death, yes, but it wasn't early. He ran the race that God sent him to run. He finished his race faster than we would have wished, but it was what God had intended." It breaks me heart to know that Erica will never finish college, get married, or have kids. But it also makes my heart so incredibly happy to know that she is exactly where Jesus wants her to be. She is dancing in heaven. And I have faith that one day I will get to see her again. I love you, Erica.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Girly Dinosaur Room

I am so excited! The girls' dino room is finally complete! I absolutely LOVE how it turned out! Obviously the hardest, most time consuming part was the dresser. It was B's when he was a kid which means that it is at least 35 years old. He did the bulk of the hard work, sanding, re-drilling the holes for the handles, and filling in the old holes. I got to do the fun, easy part: painting! Seriously what would we do without pinterest?! It is where I got the idea for the paint chip inspired paint job. 

Who says dinos are only for boys?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Adventures in Cloth Diapering

I am not sure why I decided that I needed to add more to our crazy lives by creating an extra chore for myself, but that is exactly what I did when I decided to cloth diaper G. Now I didn't just randomly come to this decision out of the blue, but rather through many, many, MANY horrible diaper rash episodes with each girl. Brian and I had discussed cloth diapering Mack when she was about 8 months old and started to have bleeding diaper rashes (a result of starting solids) but it was not financially feasible at the time. Starting out cloth diapering is EXPENSIVE, even though in the long run you save lots. Eventually though we were able to get her bum back to a nice, soft, rash-free zone through trial-and-error of many diapers and diaper creams. Well, quite sooner than we expected we found out we were expecting AGAIN. And of course if there was no way we could have bought a full set of cloth diapers for one baby, we certainly couldn't afford it for two! So, we never really talked about cloth diapering again (despite more rounds of diaper rashes, now from two children!) until I found out I was pregnant for a third time. This time around, I new that it was what I wanted to do because I did not want to deal with a third child having a painful, red bum bum. And so, I decided that since we really didn't need any new baby things, but knew my dad still wanted to get us some kind of present, I asked him for cloth diapers! Yes, he thought I was a bit crazy, but he more than happily supplied us with enough money to get us started on this endeavor.
To say I was excited is an understatement. Who knew that something that is made to hold baby poop would make me so ecstatic?! But I was super pumped to get started. Unfortunately, our life was more than a little nutso for the first 2 months of Gregory's life, so I wasn't actually able to get started until we had successfully moved across the country and gotten settled into my dad's house in Texas. 
Turns out, I actually enjoy cloth diapering! We still have issues with night time diapers, so I admit, we use disposables at night, but overall it is a life choice that I would recommend to others. Not to mention they make baby bums look freaking adorable!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

All things Mack!

Sick weeks are always hard and this was no different. Mack had a high fever off and on for 4 days with a bad cough, congestion and a loss of appetite. It is already difficult to get this kid to eat a full meal and with her basically not eating anything for 3 days I knew her weight would suffer. Unfortunately I was right and she is now back below 30 lbs!!! For once in their lives, Kait weighs more than Mack which is just kind of sad. I guess I won't feel bad giving her girl scout cookies this week if it will help her gain some weight back. I was finally able to get her an appointment yesterday on base and they ended up having to take x-rays of her chest. Because I had the other two kids with me, I wasn't able to go back with her where she was getting the x-ray done. Thank goodness she is such an easy going kid because she just walked right on back with the nurse without a single glance back at me. I was worried she would be scared or nervous. What was I thinking?! And she even got an x-ray of a teddy bear to take home as a souvenir, as well as a handful of stickers! She did have some fluid in her lungs, but luckily it was not full out pneumonia yet and her oxygen levels were at 90% which isn't horrible, but definitely not good either. She is on an antibiotic and albuterol treatments, which are never any fun, but at least she is on the mend and fever free. This is all good news, EXCEPT now the other two are starting to come down with the same thing. Here's praying it doesn't get as bad as hers did.

In other Mackie news, she is doing so well at school and is blowing me away daily by how much she is learning!  I mean, I know she is 4 years old already, but I was not prepared for how fast she would grow up! She can write all her letters, her name, numbers, knows advanced shapes (hexagon, octagon, trapezoid, etc) and has even started doing basic addition! I am so proud of her! She has been drawing dinosaurs since she was barely 3, but they are seriously getting good! She can draw a stegosaurus, triceratops, t-rex, brachiosaurus, apatosaurus, and even her made up dinosaur, a "hercadon".  I'm sure she can draw others too, but those are the most recognizable. She loves books and I am just waiting for her to come home knowing how to read on her own.

I am still unsure about when I am going to start her in kindergarten, though. I really hate that she has an August birthday. Seeing how well she is blossoming in school, I am leaning towards her starting Kindergarten this coming school year.  I really didn't think I would, but I honestly think that she is ready. If she didn't have the personality she does, I would be more hesitant, but she is SO social and so happy that I think holding her back would be a disservice to her.

I love her little (or should I say big) personality so much! She is not an average 4 year old girl and I could not be happier about it! Usually the first thing she says to someone she meets is, "I'm Mack! I love dinosaurs, and lizards, and snakes, and frogs!" which always throws people off because when you look at her, you think, "Wow what a gorgeous little girl!" and then you hear her talking about snakes and things and it makes you look twice. I also love how rational she is. I mean, don't get me wrong, she can still fly off the handle like any other 4 year old and overreact about things that really don't matter, but those moments are few and far between. Even a lot of her tantrums are done methodically and thoughtfully. For example, anytime I am getting ready to leave the house without her she tells me calmly, "Mommy, if you leave without me, I am going to be sad. I will cry if you leave. If Daddy leaves, I won't cry. I will be sad, but I won't cry. But if you leave me, I will cry!" Then she does actually start to cry once I am leaving. But it is so calculated! I mean, she makes a very conscious decision to be upset instead of just letting her emotions take over. She really must be my child because I pretty much operate the same way. It makes me nervous too though, because I know that girls can be mean. Especially to girls they think are different or weird which Mack is a little of both! She has already had a couple girls ask why she wears boy clothes, and even one (sweet wonderful girl who I miss a lot!) say that Mack was not a "real girl" because she loves dinosaurs. Thankfully Mack has the ability to be oblivious to this stuff, I just worry that one day she won't. I guess only time will tell, but I hope that by us continuing to encourage her individuality and confidence that she will always let stuff like that roll off her shoulders and that she will be proud of herself for staying true to who she is.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Teaching and Parenting

One of my biggest fears when I was going through my education classes at Texas State was that once I became a teacher I would have to deal with parents. The very thought of that made me reconsider my chosen profession. I had never been very good at talking to parents about their children, specifically their less than pleasant moments. In high school I worked for YMCA's after school program and through college I worked for Extend-A-Care (which was basically the same thing) and my worst moments at both of those jobs included angry parents. I always became flustered and felt very inept in those moments, despite my confidence in my job skills. I knew that their "babies" were the most important things to them and the fact that they were yelling at me that I was not adequately caring for them was always too much for me to handle. 

Well, before I actually finished my degree and became a teacher, I became a parent instead. The very thing that scared me. Now I was going to become one of those crazy parents who never thinks anyone can properly teach and care for my child. Turns out though, becoming a parent BEFORE becoming a teacher might have been a great blessing. I finished my last semester (student teaching) in North Dakota when Mackenzie was 5-8 months old and I never felt more confident dealing with parents than I did in those three months. All of a sudden I became fully aware of the responsibility it takes to teach other people's children. I didn't feel intimidated by my students' parents. I was one of them now. I sincerely think that being a parent will help me to be the teacher that I want to be. 

Vice versa, I genuinely think that my teaching background has helped me become a better, more involved parent. There is always that "joke" (I actually don't think it is very funny) that you have to take classes/pass tests to do pretty much anything, except becoming a parent. This is sad and is a huge disservice to children, but luckily for me, my last two years of college were spent learning about child emotional and physical development as well as discipline and teaching techniques. I feel as though I entered parenthood as prepared as one could hope for. I am constantly aware of my children's developmental levels and am always doing more research of ways to encourage them at every stage they are at. Now this is not to say that I do not have my lazy days. I definitely do when just pulling out the play-doh seems like a lot of work. But even on my lazy days, I try and incorporate some level of "teaching" if possible. My 4 1/2 year-old and 3 year-olds both do chores, have a daily activity (craft, paint, play-doh, etc) participate in story time, and are expected to get themselves dressed and clean up after themselves. Sometimes those tasks and teaching moments take up A LOT more time than if I just did them myself, but then what would they be learning? That someone else will be there to do it for them. I want more for them. I want them to realize the importance of constantly being in the process of learning new things. I want them to know that Mommy thinks they are capable of doing new things. I want them to be able to prove to themselves that they can do things for themselves. 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Inspiration has struck again. I always seem to go through blogging phases and I think I am about to be going through another one, thanks to a good friend, Brandy.

Awhile back I wrote about needing/wanting a hobby. Since then A TON has changed, but that desire still seems front and center. And so, I decided to try some new things. I finally learned how to use my sewing machine this summer! Of course now I am missing a vital piece for it and cannot use it until I order a new one (which is very disappointing since I bought a cute apron pattern). I also started using our Canon Rebel X. I am especially excited about this because I really want to be able to take good pictures of my family. I have so many talented friends that any and all advice about sewing or photography would be greatly appreciated.

In addition to those new hobbies I have started P90X which is a hardcore workout DVD program. Brian convinced me to do it with him, which actually works out well for both of us. We are each other's motivation. Only three and a half weeks in, and I have already noticed a significant difference. I currently weigh less than when I got pregnant with Mack and have more muscle definition than I did when I was 21! Very exciting, especially since I had very little expectations of it working. Eventually I will post a "before" and "after" picture, but I don't think I am that brave yet. We'll see.

Here are a couple pictures I have taken so far. Not even that good, but I am eager to learn and practice :)