06-18-18 The Lost Day

I wasn’t feeling well on my drive home last night, but I chalked it up to having missed dinner. I stopped near home and got a bowl of soup and made it the rest of the way home. By the time I crawled into bed I was freezing and even under my huge blankets I couldn’t get warm. Then my stomach started to churn. I hoped falling asleep would make it all go away, but within an hour I was up and sick. Ugh.

After a very restless night I woke up with an incredible headache. I ate some toast and got sick again. I called out from work and literally spent the rest of the day in bed. I kept falling asleep and waking up with the headache in full force. Finally this evening it subsided and I was able to eat dinner.

With only two weeks of work left, I was disappointed to lose a day, but I was very thankful that it happened when the kids were at the new house and I didn’t have to juggle mom duties while also being sick. I’m hoping I can still sleep tonight, considering I slept most of the day away.

Meanwhile the kids had fun at home. (I guess I should start calling the new house home soon, right?!?) They got out the hose and sprinkler and spent the evening running through it. I sure do miss them. It is going to be a long week!

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06-17-18 Happy Father’s Day!

Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of when Tim proposed to me on the Brooklyn Bridge in the middle of a monsoon. Little did we know the journey we were about to be taken on, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. Tim is an amazing husband, father, and best friend and I thank God that he brought us together!

I also need to give a shout out to my own father, the man that taught me so much and loves me unconditionally. And also to my father in law, who accepted me into his family like a daughter. I love them all so much. My children and I have been blessed with such strong, loving men in our lives!

So Happy Father’s Day to the three most important men in our lives!!

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After the activities of yesterday, we decided to have a slow, lazy day. We spent much of it just sitting on the front porch listening and watching the birds. Baby E got to try out a pair of binoculars, while C took the opportunity to ‘tattoo’ anyone that was willing.

This evening I left them all behind at the new house and headed home. They will all stay there for the week and we will be reunited this weekend. Driving away from the house was hard, as I just wanted to be with them. But the week will fly, and then it will be only one more week of work after that. 🙂

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06-16-18 The Field Trip

I wanted to do something special with the kids this weekend to celebrate finishing the school year strong. I knew we would be at the new house for the weekend and I thought it would be a great opportunity to explore around our new community and make some memories. I have been wanting to find some outdoor spaces for us to escape to, so I researched some local parks and found a few that were either near a river or smaller tributary. Since water seems to be our happy place I chose a park that had good reviews and boasted some nice walking trails near a creek.

One of the things that I want to make a point of now that we will be homeschooling is to incorporate learning into our every day lives, so what better way that to make our hike our very first homeschooling field trip?! We packed up some snacks, bug spray, notebooks, and pencils and headed on our way. My mom and sister joined us for our adventure.

We were certainly not disappointed by our little park. It was in an out of the way corner off of a neighborhood and it had a small parking lot. A short walk down a path took us to the creek’s edge. Because of all the recent rains, the water was higher than it normally would be, but we could hear some rapids upstream and decided to investigate. I told the kids to keep their eyes open and we pointed out different things like how the shade was keeping us cooler, how the ground was still muddy from the recent rain, and how we found sea shells much higher on land than we anticipated, leading to the conclusion that the water had been running much higher very recently. The kids picked leaves and examined bugs. The felt the cold water and we discussed which direction the water was flowing.

We found the remains of an old bridge and even an old canal system, both of which still had stones and bricks intact. We even saw trees that had grown around bricks and lifted them off the ground. We identified different footprints, like raccoon and deer. When we got tired we sat down and ate a snack while the kids took out their notebooks and drew and journaled about what they had seen.

They all drew the rapids and the trees. C also drew a spider and the deer tracks. We got to watch a group of kayakers get a lesson and then load in their boats and push out into the water. C drew a picture of that as well.

We only had two mishaps, both involving poor Baby E, though. He placed his hand down on a rock and didn’t realize there was a broken beer bottle there and ended up slicing a small cut into his palm. Thankfully “the blood stopped bleeding” pretty quickly. A little while later he decided to run down the trail and tripped on a rock or tree root. He face planted on the trail and got a bump on his head, poor thing. But he was a good sport and did his best to keep up with his older siblings.

There were miles of trails, so we only scratched the surface. We were definitely exhausted and very dirty by the time we left 2.5 hours later. The kids learned so much, and I definitely think it helped for them to journal along the way. They brought home seashells, clamshells, walnuts, and leaves to examine.

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On the way home, C wrote us this sweet note. We definitely made some wonderful memories today. It was an amazing way to start our homeschooling adventures!

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06-14-18 That’s a Wrap!

Whoever thought making the last day of school also crazy hair day did not take into consideration all of us photo-obsessed-mamas out there that just wanted a before and after shot of their kids’ school year! This morning Big E asked to sport a mohawk, and C wanted a bunch of pony tails.

This school year has been a tough one guys, but my kids did an amazing job at rolling with the punches. If you remember, we moved out of our townhouse shortly after school started. Initially we had thought we might move to our new house in January, so we did not anticipate managing an entire school year from my in-law’s basement, but it worked! I am so proud of how hard these kids worked! I know it wasn’t easy and we never quite felt settled, but they were so resilient. And in just a few more weeks I get to see them all the time! I CANNOT WAIT!

Tim got them off of the school bus this afternoon and took them out to the new house this evening. I have spent my time packing up clothes to take when I head out there tomorrow after work. They will be spending the next week or so out there, which means I will have nearly a week without them. As much as I will be soaking up the quiet, I am going to miss them!

Today was also Baby E’s last day at his daycare. I have been so grateful to have such a wonderful place to drop my children off every day. He has learned so much over this past year and he is really coming out of his shell. I know he is going to miss his teacher and his many friends.

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Last night we took some time to sit down and do some ‘homeschooling.’ We had recently picked out a book at the library about sharks. We spent about 20 minutes going through the first half. We lingered on each page talking about the information we were learning. When we were done, I asked the kids to talk about the book and about anything they hadn’t known about sharks before reading it. Then they sat down and drew a shark for me. The great thing was, they didn’t realize how much they were learning. When we called Tim a few minutes later, C couldn’t wait to share that she learned that Great Whites roll their eyes up in their heads when they eat and Big E described that sharks had different teeth to do different things. I’m looking forward to many more teachable moments in the future!

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I love that her shark is waving!

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The yellow on the bottom left are the fish the shark is eating. Apparently this Great White is a messy eater since he smeared fish guts all over his face! Those teeth, though!

06-13-18 A Promise Kept

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My boss asked me about a specific piece of footage the other day. I had been on the shoot when our Graduate Assistant shot the footage and my boss wanted to track down a specific scene. With confidence I replied that the footage was shot between the end of September and the end of October 2016. We checked the files and sure enough the folder was there, labeled October 19th 2016.

There was nothing particularly special about that shoot for it to stick out in my mind save one thing- I had been pregnant. I remember going on the shoot that day and it was unbelievably hot and we did a lot of walking around town. Save a very small handful of people, no one knew at that time. I vaguely remember feeling very exhausted and beat by the time we made it back to the office.

Ten days later we lost the baby.

Today would have been Hazel’s first birthday, had she lived. I should be in the midst of planning a birthday party, picking out an adorable outfit and whipping up some cute invitations to celebrate. But Hazel died before we could meet and all I have left of her is her “Hazel Box” and a promise. For the sake of our other kids and for the sake of our family, I made a promise that her loss wouldn’t be in vain.

Around this time last year I was a wreck. With Hazel’s due date and major forward motion on our new house happening the same week, I felt so lost and overwhelmed. I was having panic attacks multiple times every day and I felt like my world was crashing down around me. I remember pleading with God to remind me that he was in control and that we were making the right decision. A couple of months earlier we had decided to move forward with our plan to eventually move, for me to quit my job, and for us to start homeschooling.

And then the strangest thing happened. Less than two weeks later I got an email from a friend. It is someone I have known for years. I worked with his wife when I first started in the film industry and I was always very close to her. I got to know her husband over the years and the couple has always been such an encouragement to me. He is the man I asked to photograph each of my children after they were born, but we hadn’t corresponded in the years after Baby E. He’s not on social media and we don’t have many mutual friends so when his email arrived I was taken aback. The gist of it boiled down to the fact that he had been compelled to pray for our family recently, but he didn’t know why. After praying for us he decided he needed to write to me. In his email he talked about raising children in godly households, about the importance of focusing on their well being, and the value of teaching them at home. He walked through several passages of scripture he felt were relevant and concluded, “He wants us to use his standard for what constitutes a godly family – no matter what the world is doing. What ever that takes.”

I’m not a superstitious person. I don’t look for signs. I don’t randomly open my Bible and point to an arbitrary verse and expect that it will be relevant to what I am going through. That’s not me. But guys, I sat there blown away. This man had NO IDEA what we were going through. He didn’t know about Hazel. He didn’t know about our plans. He didn’t know the ache I had to be home with my kids and to be able to homeschool them. But I had told God I was scared. I had asked him if such drastic plans were really necessary or if we could just maintain our status quo. I had pleaded for him to bring our plans to a screeching halt if it wasn’t in His will, and then He sent me that response.

“What ever that takes.”

Ok, if big change is what God was calling us to do, then big change it was going to be. Sure, I’ve had doubts and fears since then but I keep being reminded of that message and the countless other times I have seen Him working along this path.

So today I fulfilled the promise. Today I had my exit interview at work. I still have twelve more days in the office but today it felt final. I hadn’t realized it was planned for Hazel’s birthday until I was on my way to work this morning, but it seemed so very fitting. It’s my Happy Birthday to Hazel, the gift I can give my family that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t known her.

So until we meet face to face, my sweet Hazel Marie, Happy Birthday from mommy.

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06-12-18 The Fisherman

A man at the pier caught his first fish this evening. His face was beaming as he was holding it off the ground still attached to the line. It was flailing in the air gasping its final breaths. The kids caught wind of the fish and ran to see what was happening. We had met up with some cousins for ice cream and time at the board walk. They had been playing tag up until the man caught the fish, then most of them were riveted by the stranger. He told me he was a teacher, and that became evident very quickly when he let the kids touch the dead fish as he explained the different parts to them. The kids each ran to us to tell us about the fish and getting to touch it. As he moved back and forth along the pier to check on his rods, the kids would follow him, bombarding him with questions, and with great patience and a huge smile he answered them all.

I wish I had caught his name and shaken his hand. He made such an impression on my children and I was taken aback by his kindness and generosity. He could have ignored them. He could have pretended not to hear their questions over the roar of the bay, but instead he invested and engaged.

So whomever you are, kind stranger, thank you very much, you are an amazing teacher!

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06-11-18 Character Parade

With three days of school left, we are just trying to hold it together and finish strong. Tomorrow is the Character Parade at the kids’ school and they have been talking about it for weeks. They get to dress up as a character from a book, make a poster, and participate in the parade at school.

Instead of deciding which book we wanted to do, we took a survey of which costumes we could pull together and went from there. C chose Moana, so I ordered some Moana books from the library for her to pick from. Big E originally said he wanted to be Curious George, but I reminded him that the costume is hot and he might not want to wear it all day. With that in mind we went to the library and I scoured for books that had superheroes or farmers. We landed on “Superhero Joe,” which we read this evening and assembled the costume. Then the kids set to work making their posters with stickers, markers, and construction paper. Even Baby E wanted to make a poster, and of course he chose Moana as his book as well. Shocking, I know!

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06-10-18 Snoring

She won’t believe you if you tell her, but C snores. Shortly after Baby E was born and we were still living in the farmhouse, I was sleeping each night in the living room. The farm house was a beast to keep warm, and since it was winter, the warmest room was the living room, so I set up camp there. Baby E had quite a few medical problems early on and I was recovering from the C-Section, so we both pretty much just lived in that tiny living room.

Not much sleeping was happening for us, though. Baby E was jaundice and the pediatrician was adamant that Baby E was fed around the clock every two hours from the start of a feeding. That meant I got next to no sleep the first few weeks of Baby E’s life.

I don’t mind admitting that I snore, especially if I have a cold or if I am extremely exhausted. During those early days of Baby E’s life I’d practically pass out on the couch after feeding him and startle myself awake with a snore.

At some point during that experience C was sleeping in the living room with us, but I can’t remember why. What I do remember is that she would wake me up every time she heard me snore. That meant I was getting even less sleep, and snoring even more.

One night when I was laying there, C was on the floor and she started snoring. After a moment she sat up in bed and started complaining that I was keeping her awake!! That’s when I realized while I was snoring, she was snoring too and waking herself up and blaming me!! After that we made a rule that she could sleep near me, but she was never allowed to complain about my snoring.

Well tonight I am sitting in the next room from her and I am listening to the gentle steady rhythm of her snoring and it makes me smile. Her and Big E only have four more days of school and then they will be done. My sweet, snoring girl is growing so quickly. I’m proud of her hard work this past year and I have loved watching her mature. I’m looking forward to getting to spend more time with all three of them in the very near future!

06-09-18 Better Late than Never!

Sure, it’s nearly 3 months late, but we finally had Big E’s birthday party. It was a Superhero/Hot Wheels party featuring a John Deere birthday cake. (All his own choices.) We had it at our local park, which works great for birthday parties! We had pizza and cake. The kids decorated paper plates as steering wheels and raced each other around the picnic area. They each got a hot wheels car and raced them down hills.

Nearly all of Big E’s cousins were there, as well as quite a few friends from his class. He was over the moon that he finally got to have his special day.

Happy Birthday, Big E!

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