Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy New Year!

Since Thanksgiving our calendar has been crammed full of activities with friends and family.

 We started off the season with a trip to Six Flags for Holiday In The Park with Emma and her mom Tracey. As you can see by the way the girls are dressed it wasn't a super cold night. We had a blast and Tracey made a new friend in the Guest Services department!

 After Thanksgiving we took a trip to the Dallas Galleria for some shopping and fun with my mom, Kendall and her mom Michelle. We had so much fun and hated for it to end.

 As always our trip included a trip to the American Girl Store and a visit to Paradise Bakery for some awesome cookies. I am going to make a copycat version and I will let you know how they are.

 In early December we went to Casa MaƱana to see a play called Santa Claus A New Musical. As always the production was fun and the kids loved it.  Sydney with her nephew Levi!
 After the play we went to Central Market for lunch and some friend and sister fun. This is Annie, our middle daughter.  It was a great day for sitting outside while Levi played on the playground.  Sydney and I spent many days there when she was little...I love being able to have a table to eat and watch the kids at the same time. It was Annie's first time but I'm sure she will be going back.

Our homeschool group had their annual skating and cookie party at a local skating rink!

Recital Flowers from my friend Tracey!

 Horsing around at South Cliff Baptist Church's Christmas program Where Shelby Anderson performed with her dance group Devotion In Motion.

 After 2 recitals we settled in for In And Out Burgers which Sydney loves and I tolerate.

 Sydney and her friends Brooke and Hope while waiting on Shelby to perform.

 When in Texas...

 Trying to find some good Christmas shots for cards and gifts. I dropped my Nikon camera at Mayfest of the bleachers and I haven't gotten the courage to take it to the camera shop to see how much the damage is. I think the camera is okay but it's the lens. 

 The week before Christmas was Sydney and Kendall's official Christmas celebration beginning at Zekes for fish and fried okra and mushrooms. Sydney doesn't care for fish so she had chicken. This place is a family favorite since the 70s.

 Oh Christmas Tree!

 My mad bow making skills! I love bow making during Christmas. It's relaxing and I can do it while watching a Christmas movie. My mom taught me how when I was a teenager and I have made them most Christmases of my adult life. When Sydney was young I resorted to stick on bows for a while but I really missed these beauties.

 Finally some cold air for the holidays! It didn't last and was back in the 80s last week.

 Sydney and Kendall going to see Moana. They both said it was really good.

Sydney and Kendall goofing around.

 Cookie decorating with the Anderson family! Every year Robin makes cookies and I make the icing and we meet at one of our houses for the kids to decorate cookies.  Such a sweet tradition that I hope we are able to continue when our kids are grown.

Sydney,  Garrett and Christopher were in the same kindergarten class and have been friends since. Emma is Christopher's little sister who is only a year younger and has alway been part of the group and usually the life of the party!

 View from my kitchen...calm before the storm!

My Christmas Belle...

Christmas morning fun!
Sydney finally got her phone!

 We wrapped our Christmas up on the 29th with Sydney's sisters, niece and nephew.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Blogging, Co-op and Seasons...

The past couple of years our family has been in a hard season. There has been a lot of loss for my immediate and extended family including death, near death x 2, a house fire, loss of pets and jobs, sickness, pain and suffering, dealing with dementia and having to put my mother in law in a nursing home. I don't know anyone who responds well to chaos and confusion. That's why Satan uses those very things to disrupt our lives and divide families. I have a very strong faith and it has been tested in ways I never imagined. Through it all God has shown me love, grace and mercy like I never imagined.

It has gotten much harder for me to blog about these things in part because of Facebook and because some of it is just to sad too articulate.  We lost my father in law and now we are watching my mother in law deteriorate.  Lately, however my daughter who is now 16 and so full of life and love and energy that I think I will have plenty to write about as our homeschool journey comes to a close in a few short years.

 Even our dog Belle was hurting after the loss of Freddy, my mom's Cavalier.

Sydney and her friends at acting camp this summer!

One of the earliest photos of Sydney and Kendall together from years ago!

 Pondering the future...

For the past 2 school years we have been involved in a homeschool co-op. For 14 weeks each semester we gather for classes at a local church every Monday. This has truly kept me going and maintained my sanity.  Ours is a parent taught co-op so there is heavy participation expected from the parents. There are somethings I love and a few things I don't love about it. I love the social aspect for sure. Sydney and I already had a pretty awesome network of homeschool friends but this has broadened our spectrum of friends immensely.  I still teach core classes at home and she takes electives at co-op. Sydney has been in dance since she was six and dancing, singing and theatre are her passions. So I allow her to focus on those outlets for her coop classes. For example, last year year she had art, drama, character design and study hall for her classes. You can opt for study hall if there isn't a class any hour that suits you. Some of her other classes have been Victus Study Skills (hated but will admit it was helpful), Quilting (also hated because of the pins) Yearbook/Newspaper and Photography.

In the beginning I didn't love the idea of teaching other kids at all! I mostly assist or co-teach with another mom. After 4 semesters I do have more confidence and I am beginning to like the other kids, dare I say love them! I have taught pre-school age, young elementary, older elementary and middle school kids. I have really warmed up to them this year though.  I avoided Sydney's grade level classes because, let's face it, she gets enough of me at home! I have taught Lego Mechanics, Pre-K story time,  Geography, Science and Math Games which is just fun ways to enrich math skills for elementary students (I have to admit that after years of depending on calculators, it challenged me).  This year I will be co-teaching drama and middle school grade General Science...Yikes!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

What? 2013 Recital!

I have to confess that I started this blog to document our homeschool journey and to document our lives in general. Based on what I found in my drafts I am not doing a less than stellar job! I never posted recital pics from last year. I had a draft but I never got around to doing it so I thought since her 2014 recital is less than a month away and she has already received her costumes for this year I would post my good intentions from last year!

Sydney performed in her dance recital for the 7th year in a row. I am amazed how much better the girls are each year. It has been so much fun to watch them grow up. Each year there are those who don't return and some new faces. Middle school seems to be the age where dancers lose interest, opt for cheer leading, don't have time for dance or decide to try dance for the first time! This year she was amazing! Of course, she doesn't think she was but I love watching her dance.

In the beginning we did professional photos as a studio but that stopped about 3 years ago.  We are not allowed to photograph the actual recital but we can take pictures during dress rehearsal. It is very dark in the auditorium and I always get my camera set just right and then set it down and mess up the settings.  I have two points here 1). I need a photography class 2). My pictures didn't turn out well. I brought a flash light thinking that may help but it didn't!

Jazz - "Keep the Party Jumpin " as you can see a little fuzzy!

Lyrical - "Good Mother" a little better…


 Hip Hop - "Girls Talkin' 'Bout" again…fuzzy. How cute would this have been?

 Ad in the official FWPAC program…

As you can see this is not from last year…it's from 2007 and it melts my heart 
every time I see it…sniff! My baby's first recital.

There will be more dance pics coming soon. Mayfest is in a couple of weeks!

Friday, February 14, 2014

A few words about my sister.

 My sweet sister Cindy and sweet Sydney at the Gaylord Texan in 2012!

I recently read a post by Pioneer Woman comparing her 2 daughters and how different they were. This made me think about my sister Cindy and I.  We are barely 2 years apart and are as different as night and day. We shared a bedroom for 16 years...from the day she was born until I turned 18 and moved away to college.  We look nothing alike.  I am brunette with brown hair and eyes and I am 5'2ish. Cindy, my sister is blond to the bone,  5'6" with one blue eye and one brown eye. We love each other to death but don't see eye to eye on some things.  I am conservative, she more liberal and more open minded. I used to get so frustrated and think why is she so different? We have the same parents (although there were times I may or may not have told her we didn't), had many of the same friends, went to the same church, high school etc.  She played soft ball and ran track.  I was in drama and homemaking.  Crazy stuff.   I am certain though that God has a special purpose for each of us and for each other. She is my rock and my best friend and we are inseparable (not literally because we are in different cities but we are connected in a way many sisters aren't). Cindy is the first one to be by my side (with mom and Rick), to pray, cry, celebrate life with me and laugh until we cry or pee!  Cindy has an unbelievable sweetness and gentleness about her and I love her more than I can even say.

Now she has RA and I don't know how to help her other than pray...a lot. Thank you God for my sweet little sister...always hold her close and protect her and please heal her.  Amen.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Back To Life Back To Reality And The "S" word!

Tomorrow is "Back to Reality Day" in our house! 

Sydney's reality?
My reality? 
We resume school, Dr. appointments and dance. It means we have to get up early, get dressed, eat breakfast and hit the books!  Since I am the teacher, it means today I have to dig out school books and transform the playroom back into the schoolhouse. It means I have to dig out Math, Spelling, English, Vocabulary, History, Science and Reading materials and figure out where we left off and how best to proceed for the rest of the year.
Books leaving my house... last summer purge!
I dream of school room looking like this by morning...

Being able to homeschool our daughter is the best gift anyone gave our family but it's not always easy.  I wrote about my reasons for homeschooling here.  We are in the middle of middle school and we are over halfway through this journey. I have days where I am a complete mess and I wonder if she is getting all she needs to have to get her through life.

Onto the "S"word...the entire world seems to be concerned whether or not homeschooled children are "socialized".  In our rather large circle of homeschool moms we giggle at that word and call it the "S" word!  We know this as code for "those people are crazy and their kids don't have anyway to make friends".  The truth is, most of us have children who are happy, balanced and are able to interact with children much younger and much older and can have a decent conversation with an adult as well...this will serve them well in the "real world".  Besides, who decided it was healthy to put that many children in close quarters was insane. Oh! I forgot, our government decided for us and we know by how they handle the postal service, DPS and tax offices how smart and efficient they are so yes!  Let's trust them with our children...not! Please do not assume this means I don't like teachers because I think most people who go into the teaching profession love children and want to help them become all they can be.  Sadly, I can only think of 3 teachers (Drama, Homemaking and Geometry) in high school that had a positive impact on my life and none in college.  I'm pretty sure that being a government employee got in the way of their passions for teaching.

Can you pick out the homeschooled girl?  It's all of them!
The moral of this story today's rambling? If my daughter isn't prepared for life, college, trade school or being an administrative assistant in a few years... I can't blame the government! I have seen successes and failures in every educational venue and we can only do what is best for our own children and our own family.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Maybe I Should Update My Blog!

This has been a busy, busy season for our family.  Here are a few highlights from the past few months. Sydney and I went to the mall to see Frozen last week and week took the opportunity to take Christmas pictures since it had turned nasty her in our area. Here are a few of my favorites. She changes so much each year.  Now she is a teenager with braces. She isn't thrilled about the braces in her pics but this is a season of her life and it needs to be documented. 

This is from the first day of school...7th grade! The years are passing by so fast...way too fast!

We had a special breakfast for the first day of school... Belgian waffles, fresh strawberries, whipped cream and homemade chocolate syrup. Amazing!

This pic is from our summer vacation in Fun Valley, CO.  This is the back of our cabin on the river. That night we had Frito pie...yum. It's the only time we eat that kind of food in the summer.

In August, we had a baby shower for Annie who was expecting Levi in early September. 
This is her second boy.

Here is Levi a couple of hours after he was born being introduced to big brother Michael.

Levi is all dressed for Halloween! He was my date to the Fall Festival at our church and he was very popular! This outfit was worn by Sydney and also Michael! It was the first baby clothes I ever bought for Sydney before I even knew she was a she. I got it and a Christmas sleeper in February at Dillard's 75% off sale! I think I paid $6.00 for each one. This is a big deal because I love bargains but I really don't look for them...not a good shopper at all!

We have been iced in here in Fort Worth since Thursday or Friday and today was my first day out. I've enjoyed staying in but I think Sydney was getting restless.

I really need to work on a new blog header since the one I have is from Christmas of 2009 or 2010, I'm not even sure!