Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Recap and what 2010 has to hold!

So, last year I posted a recap of the previous year on my myspace page, and this year I figure this would be the most appropriate place! This is what 2009 held for us!

-Moved from Oklahoma to New Jersey
-Rented our Oklahoma home out to some really good renters!
-Kaelyn turned three and had her first birthday party at Chuckie Cheese!
-Bought our second home! LOVE THIS HOUSE!

-Kaelyn started dance, made some FABULOUS friends and had her first Recital!
-Anna got her tongue fixed and had her first birthday
-Ryan completed his training for the KC10, and went on a "mini-deployment"
-I started homeschooling Kaelyn and have really started to enjoy staying at home, although a career is still in my future!
-We became a 2 car family!!
-Ryan's family visited!
-Finished our basement!!
-Anna had swim lessons...hates it!
-Kaelyn started swimming with minimal assistance
-Ryan started his masters
-Spent Thanksgiving with Ryan's Family
-Spent Christmas and New Years with my Family

-Pending deployments/trips
-Kaelyn will have finished her first year of homeschooling
-Looking to start a new college degree....considering nursing!
-More on our surprise
-Trip to OK for a wedding!

I know it doesn't look like much, but it's been a GREAT 2009 and I can't wait to spend 2010 with my great friends and more time enjoying my family! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Georgia on my mind!

I am in my lovely home state of Georgia now, and hopefully I can get back into the habit of blogging, although I don't think I ever established a habit of blogging! All this traveling has taught me few things. The first of which, is that people don't think kindly of a woman and two small children traveling by themselves. I got a lot of comments along the lines of "That poor woman" or "Where is your husband?". After explaining that I am a military spouse and don't always have the luxury of a husband who can serve as pack mule, I got the look. The one that simultaneously says "I am so glad I am not you, but I am so glad that you can say that with a smile". Then they usually ask if they can help! Thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for your help!

Just like with make-up, accessories and dessert, LESS IS MORE.
When you are the only adult traveling in a party of three, less is still too much. Kaelyn (3) is unreliable in her willingness to carry or roll her carry-on and depending on how long of a day, she could also be half asleep and crying as you make her walk from the plane to baggage claim (ie California trip). Anna (15 mos)  isn't at an age where I trust her to walk, so she is carried along with my purse (aka diaper bag) and our book bag. I've tried to find ways to streamline it, and on our return trip I think I am going to be investing in carabiners...I really want the one called a Mommy Hook.

 I went from four bags on our Cali trip, to two bags on our GA trip (not including Kaelyn's diaper bag). I think this gem of a hook would be great to hold my purse, Kaelyn's bag when she inevitable decides she's tired of carrying it, and our coats! That would free up a whole arm, and take me down to just one bag! I've also had the brainy idea of sewing on a ribbon loop on both ends of the girls blankets so that they can be carried this way as well. For those of you trying to figure out why I don't use a stroller, easy, when I'm the only one responsible for getting through security, a stroller is too much (I already take up 8 of those little trays, I can't be expected to get a stroller through as well). We also encourage/expect our girls to learn to walk with us in crowds from an early age.

Homeschooling and traveling takes a lot of PLANNING!

I don't generally plan our weekly lessons, we have an end goal set, but our daily goals are not planned. This makes it difficult to know exactly how much to bring and what items will need to be packed. I know, I know, I know, why not just stop homeschooling while I'm traveling? If we get out of the habit it would be difficult to reestablish it. That and our cousins are public school students who don't have the luxury of setting their own schedule, so we do homework with our cousins and no one is left out or distracted!

I can't stress these enough. Kaelyn even hears these when she gets impatient with lines to get seated on the plane, "Kaelyn, when we fly we need to have lots of Patience and a very Good Attitude to have a great experience". I want my kids to understand that when life presents you with a tough or less than ideal situation (ie traveling alone with two small children), YOUR ATTITUDE affects whether you have a Good experience or a Bad experience, and you can choose to have a good one!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


So, for the last few weeks I've been on the road traveling since we expected Ryan to be traveling over the holidays with Uncle Sam as his Travel Guide. Hence the absence....and I'm leaving yet again on Saturday to go to my family for Christmas!!! Georgia you are on my mind!

Thought it might be nice to tell a funny on Anna, my sweet darling chubby child who doesn't know when or how to STOP eating!! She has some GREAT thunder thighs and chubby cheeks! While at my mother-in-laws, who runs an at-home day care, Anna watched an older child exit through the gate, go to his bag, grab a snack from his lunch box, and come back in the gate. Shortly after that child returned, Anna took off. I didn't think anything of it, seeing as her Aunt was in the next room, but when Anna came back, she had the older boy's lunch shoved in her mouth and a bag of his snacks in her hand!

Yes, my daughter is THAT kid, the one that will sneak back into the classroom during recess and EAT other people's lunch.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Autumn Beauty

This weeks I heart faces ( contest is about Autumn Beauty. Unfortunately, this year we didn't make it to the pumpkin patch (Ryan was gone, and I wasn't quite ready to accept that our tradition was going to have to be different this year), but I have one of my FAVORITE shots of my girls, ever! So, without further adue, here are my sweet girls.

On a side note, I am sorry I haven't been posting, I'm currently in California with my in-laws for Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, (something about all that food, gratefulness and family just makes my year) I decided to participate in the I heart faces: Thankfulness (

       In our family, we have a tradition of writing on the same white table cloth each year what we are thankful for. For the past four years, we have written what we were thankful for and allowed our daughters to "write" or "stamp" their footprint on the cloth. Since we are a military family, and generally far from our parents, we have friends and single coworkers join in our feast and they each leave their mark on our white table cloth.
      Each year, as I set the table, we look over the cloth and remember the years prior and why we were so thankful for our "healthy baby" (preterm labor and delivery) or who we ate that meal with ("for friends who treat you like family"). This year, the table cloth will travel with me and the girls to my husband's family since he won't be able to eat this meal with us. As sad as I am that I won't have his thankful mark our table cloth for this year, I'm still thankful to have him with us. So, my picture is from our latest homecoming with Ryan.

I'm thankful that my husband has come home, and will come home. I'm thankful to have a house for him to come home to, a family that fills that house with so much love that it becomes a home and a man who loves me, our girls, and this country enough to leave when duty calls. And I am thankful that God has blessed me with some amazing friends who are more like family. Before I started this nomadic journey with my husband, I wasn't a best friend kind of person. I never really needed friends, and now I understand that without my friends, this world and this life would be much harder.I have so much to be thankful for, and love that I can spend an ENTIRE MONTH of the year recognizing those blessings!

Meme Monday

So, Leslie at has started a new trend of Meme Mondays. Basically, it's these cute little games or activities to encourage blogging. Meme basically means viral or spreading, so the hope is that by posting on her blog, she'll encourage her friends and families to post on theirs.

Today's Meme is (Leslie's Meme)
This first one should be easy AND fun! :)

Today will be (surprise, surprise) about MUSIC!!! Here's the game:
1.) Lucy in the sky with diamonds....
2.) DIAMONDS are a girl's best friend...
3.) GIRLS just wanna have fun...
Do you see the game yet? I've posted three lines from songs. Number 2 has a word from number 1. Number 3 has a word from number 2. For your post, you should use a word from the song line (doesn't have to be a title, but should be a recognizable line) in the post above yours. So the first poster will use a word from MY #3, and the next person will use a line from the first poster's song and on and on. Get it? Feel free to post more than once, be creative, and HAVE FUN!!!

My Meme:
1. the GIRLS are back in town
2. This is our TOWN
3. until it's OUR turn to dance :)

Have FUN!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Why do we homeschool?

Unlike so many other parents who home school, we don't have a grand philosophic reason, more of a few little reasons.

1. Finances
In New Jersey, preschool and pre-K, if they are available are expensive ($3500 yr/2hrs a day, five days a week). Even IF we could afford to pay for two hours a day, five days week, I don't think I could justify the investment when Kaelyn has already met the criteria for LEAVING preschool. In essence, I would be paying for a baby sitter. As for pre-K, it's not an option in our district and we would HAVE to be teaching this at home anyways.

2. Convenience
Ryan is gone A LOT, and this year it will be over the holidays (probably all of them). Since I don't currently have a job (working on that), I am going to be traveling often. I don't want to have to worry about how Kaelyn's school will handle her being gone, so homeschooling frees up our schedule for being with family during the holidays.

3. Trial Run
I know a lot of military families who choose to homeschool after having moved states and a child is either 1. woefully behind, 2. doing the same coursework they did the prior year, or 3. ahead by more than one grade level. Knowing this, I couldn't help but take this opportunity and treat it as a trial run of homeschooling. Can I be disciplined enough? Will my children (I do structured learning time with Anna) learn? Will we enjoy this time as a family?

For now, we have decided to fore go a formal curriculum due to price (what if I get a job tomorrow and we can afford private all day preschool? this money would have been wasted). I have been utilizing a really great workbook that we have now advanced past and completed. As alternative activities, we use lapbooks, file folder games, montessouri-esque learning activities (sorting manipulatives, counting them, graphing them, and usually eating them!).

Trust me, I've heard all the negatives....What about socialization? What about structure? What about....

Kaelyn does love a structured environment with other children and a formal instructor. SHE WANTS THIS, so to help give her all the things she needs, we have her take classes at the Y. We generally do one class a week, and I try and pick it as one on mathematics or science since I want Kaelyn to be strong in those sections. This class and Dance provide great opportunities for socialization.

Friday, November 6, 2009


So I've been challenged to produce 7 pink things for my next post by my friend Leslie (feels weird not calling you Ms. McKee or Mrs. Bowers). Since I have two girls, this post should be easy, but I don't have my camera with me (it's already tucked away for our trip to Grandma's this week), so I'm pulling up old photos of pink things in my home! Pink Blanket:
That lovely, loud, obnoxious pink leopard print blanket is THE BLANKET for our three year old. She never had a blanket, until Daddy was gone and she had developed a very high fever. It was winter, and as all mom's know, there comes a point when the layers of clothing to keep your child warm interfere with the ability of the car seat to function. Thus a LARGE, discounted blanket was my solution. It was love at first sight...that pink blanket speaks to Kaelyn's Soul! Anna has a matching purple one, which speaks to her soul. This picture was taken when Anna was one month old and Kaelyn was SHARING her blanket. Almost made me cry....may have just been hormones.

Pink Clothes/Toys/Accessories:
Okay, so here are the girls, and they are the driving PINK force in my household. Even though I'm not a fan of pink (okay, I hate it), I love having these girls as my reason to have it around. (BTW, this is Santa Kaelyn--the swimsuit is a hat, bringing gifts to Anna)

Anna's Pink/Lime Green mat:
So, here is my admission, I'm not really a fan of pink. Kaelyn ADORES pink, and Anna needs it to prove to others that she is a girl, so I have pink. This is the first thing I sewed with my sewing machine that Ryan bought me. Anna is the MESSIEST eater. This lovely mat has saved me so much work! I LOVE IT (and my sewing machine).

Bright pink flower photos in black frames:
When I have the time, this pink flower, and a few other vibrant pink/purple flower photos are going to be hung in the girls bedroom. Why is it that there room gets all the love, while mine stays rejected???
Pink Flowered Table:
We got the greatest deal on two of these sweet tables well before we even thought about a second child or found out it was a girl. That's how GREAT a deal it was (okay, okay, I'll tell you, 22 bucks for both tables and four chairs). The girls eat snack and play at one in the kitchen as well as one in their bedroom.

Pink Dress Up Clothes:
I know it looks like I favor Kaelyn, well, it's just that she's our Pink child and Anna is our Purple Child. If the color choice had been purple, there would have been NO Kaelyn pictures, since she is a Pink Snob. This is Kaelyn sleeping on the floor in her dress up clothes! I LOVE That she kept her shoes on! When she woke up, she still had her shoes on. Talk about some talent!
This is the best pink top ever! It lasted from 20 wks-til five days before deliver (when that photo was taken). I know it's not in my house, but....I love this top and I hate that is SAYING SOMETHING!

And, since I don't have anymore pink photos that have already been taken, I'll tell you two of my favorite pink things...
A Pink Orchid: that was given to me while I was in the hospital with Kaelyn. It's a silk plant in a dark green square container and I love having it in my home. It's currently in our white "closet" bathroom (a bathroom that is about the size of a large closet and has only a toilet and pedestal sink).
A Pink Wallet: It's a bright hot pink wallet that is EASY to find in my cavernous Mom purse. All the slots are in all the right places for me!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Our Turn to Dance

Our first dance as husband and wife on Nov. 19, 2005

This blog is intended to document the journey of our sweet family of four at our new home in New Jersey. Ryan is now in a new position where he will be gone all.the.time.

The name comes from a song that really spoke to me during our first deployment. It's Come Home Soon by SheDaisy.

I put away the groceries
And I take my daily bread
I dream of your arms around me
As I tuck the kids in bed

I don't know what you're doin'
And I don't know where you are
But I look up at that great big sky
And I hope you're wishin' on that same
bright star

I wonder, I pray

And I sleep alone
I cry alone
And it's so hard livin' here on my own
So please, come home soon
(Come home soon)

I know that we're together
Even though we're far apart
And I'll wear our lucky penny 'round my neck
Pressed to my heart

I wonder, I pray

[Repeat Chorus]

I still imagine your touch
It's beautiful missing something that much
But sometimes love needs a fighting chance
So I'll wait my turn until it's our turn to dance

I wonder, I pray

[Second Chorus:]
I sleep alone
I cry alone
Without you this house is not a home
So please, come home soon

[Third Chorus:]
I walk alone
I try alone
I'll wait for you, don't want to die alone
So please, come home soon

Come home soon
Come home soon

As much as I hate Ryan being gone, as difficult as it can be, and as painful as it is to explain to my children where daddy has gone and why, his job makes a difference. He does this for my family, for my children, and for our safety so that we can live without fear. All that said, when he leaves and while he is gone, I find myself waiting patiently (okay, so not so patiently) for Our Turn to Dance.