27 Hours in 15 Minutes

Dan had a business trip in Boston and we all hopped on so the kids could see family. We drove up because flying was not in our budget, and because I’m pretty sure we enjoy torturing ourselves.  We thought it would be fun to share the long 27 hour drive with all of you, but don’t worry, we condensed it to 15 mins.

 

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Ten Hours is Too Long!

Yesterday we spent ten hours at Typhoon Lagoon.  Yes, you read that correctly…ten hours!  As much fun as it was, this is way too long to be at any water park.  Our upcoming annual passes for Disney do not include the water parks this time, so we’ve been trying to get in as many visits as possible.  This was not an easy decision, we love Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, but soon we’ll have a pool in our backyard and we want to focus on that new experience.  Since yesterday was most likely our last time for a while, we decided to tough it out and go for the full day.

We arrived before the 10:00 am opening to get a really good spot in the shade so we could set up camp for the day.  We knew we’d need breaks to rest, eat up, and rejuvenate, after all it was going to be a long day.  We were prepared with a big lunch and lots of fruit, sunscreen, hats, goggles, and books. It turns out we weren’t the only ones with that idea. When the rope dropped, people with coolers on wheels and strollers stacked high with sand toys, floats and beach bags went dashing down the paths looking to get the best spot.  One little guy tripped and the mother kept running, I can’t say that I blamed her.  A lot was at stake!  A good spot can either make or break a day at the water park.Thankfully, they were no match for Elijah as he sprinted past them and claimed our spot!

We were located in a great area with a lot of shade and were able to relax when needed.  I could also watch the kids as they splashed around in Ketchakiddee Creek during my down times, which were a lot more than theirs.

As for the majority of the day, we spent it on the lazy river, oodles of slides, and in the packed wave pool, and then we did it again, and again, and again.  We walked, we climbed, and we swam for 10 hours.  By the end of the day we were all a little pink, even with all the sunscreen we used, our feet were raw and we were exhausted. Somehow I managed to lose my magic band, and a contact lens. The magic band wasn’t that important, my new one just arrived, but trying to get around with only half my sight was challenging.

Finally the evening sky let us know it was getting time to go, along with the loud announcement that they would be closing soon.  We gathered our things, and schlepped to the parking lot, gingerly favoring a sore muscle, a bump here, a scrape there or a tube burn (ouch).  Our waterlogged bodies and tender feet fought every arduous step.  We had played hard but we all agreed the consequences were absolutely worth it!

 

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Blizzard Beach is Our Favourite Beach

I guess you could say we officially started the process of getting our new home today. We met with a real estate agent, and we’ve started the loan process, so things are moving along.  We went to a couple open houses on Saturday and it got us excited for the possibilities and being able to picture ourselves in a home.

On our way back from the meeting this morning we picked up this guy….

I have no idea where he came from, one minute there’s just a windshield and the next minute…there he is!  It was a little freaky. He hung on for quite a while, but eventually jumped off on to a grassy area by the road.  We’re still getting use to all the little critters around here, and remarkably, he was not the first one to catch a ride with us. One time we drove a lizard all the way to BJ’s in our vehicle. There are so many frogs and lizards everywhere, thankfully that’s about the worse we’ve had.  I’ve yet to see a snake (and I’d like it to continue that way), and I’ve only seen two alligators since we got here, one bathing along the side of a retention pond and a tiny baby one in a lake.  I was far from both, so it was kind of interesting. We don’t go very close to water that isn’t in a pool. I guess that probably shows we aren’t from around here, but that’s fine by me.

That’s why our favourite beach around here is Blizzard Beach.  No alligators there!  Lately we’ve been spending Sunday afternoons at the water park. Yesterday was no different but first we had a few things to do at home. After church Bella made everyone lunch, this is something she enjoys doing lately.  She’s really good at it. Elijah likes to do it too, but he’s been letting Bella have her turn.  Sometimes they’ll work together and make a big breakfast for everyone.

When lunch was finished, the kids helped Dan with some chores outside.  They all had the pleasure of helping clean out the black and gray tanks…yuck!  Nobody likes that job, but it’s good for them to learn how to do it, especially since we live in a trailer.  The kids have all expressed interest in owning their own RV when they get older, so now is as good of time as any to learn how to take care of one.  We’re big on teaching independence!

Once all the chores were finished we headed out to the water park and floated around the lazy river for a while and cooled off.  The kids really enjoy the Ski Patrol section there, and of course we all love Team Boat Springs.  By the time we got to the wave pool we were all pretty tired.

Bella was happy to try out her new bathing suit.  She has been on the hunt for the perfect bathing suit for water parks, and I guess for swimming in general.  We’ve gone through many different styles, her latest being boy swim trunks, because she prefers the texture to them and they don’t sag, along with a rash guard for more protection from the sun. The shorts were a hit, but she found the rash guard too bothersome around the neck.  She did like the sleeves though, so when we get into the house, I’m going to try and fix the neck a little.  Hopefully that will help.  I’m trying to find fabric like the shorts so that I can make some for her exactly the way she wants them.  There are so many sewing projects I plan on tackling once I get my machines set up again!  Very, very soon!

 

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Filming Takes Practice

We finally bought a video camera this week.  My mother-in-law has been the one capturing all our moments on video over the years (thank you, Nana J, for all the dvds you’ve filled with wonderful memories!), but now that we live in different states, we’ve gone without for too long.  We’ve taken a lot of photos but it’s just not the same for capturing vibrant personalities.

We ordered the camera online and when it arrived we were confused, because the camera can fit in the palm of a hand, but the box it was delivered in was big enough to hold a small child.  I know because the first thing Josiah did when the box was empty, was climb in.

The first thing we recorded was Josiah reading.  He really wanted to see what he looked like when he read.  I guess when you’re six years old, reading is kind of a cool thing.  Between Elijah slurping on a drink, and Jack whining to go outside, our film taking needs work. I looked around and found an editing software called Filmora, so I practiced using our seriously flawed video.   It’s actually a lot of fun!

So…here’s the video.

I think I have the very basics down at least, there’s so much more to learn, but the biggest thing is to remember to bring the camera with us when we go places.  I keep forgetting we have it!

 

 

 

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This Is Where We Live

 

This has been home for the past 16 months.  It’s a little unconventional, but then so are we, so it’s worked out just fine.  There have been times when it’s felt a little squishy inside but during those times we try to stay thankful for the roof over our head and being close together has really helped us bond as a family.  The rest of the time it’s been really cool to live in our trailer.  However, we are so excited that the time has come to start looking for our new home!  We can’t wait to have a pool in our back yard!

When we first made the decision to sell our old house it didn’t seem plausible, the housing market was not going so well and our house still needed a lot of work .  It’s easy to talk about change but getting things started can be complicated.  I realize now that big changes often starts with one small step in the right direction and a lot of trust in God.  While I couldn’t see the big picture, I knew I could get some boxes and start sorting through all our things.  So our first step was to slowly sell, throw out, donate, and pack everything we owned.  I started this back in November of 2014.  We didn’t sell our house for another 20 months but that small step started the process.  Big changes also take patience!  Copious amounts of patience!  

The patience paid off and now the kids are loving the Florida life! (I think I’ve mentioned how much we love it here!) How could they not with all the sunshine and swimming?  We now live so close to Disney World, one of our favourite places, that we can go whenever we want…which is quite often!  Sometimes I just can’t believe how blessed we are!

We do so many cool new things all the time that sometimes I wonder if someone pinched me, would I wake up from this dream? I hope not!

 

 

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They’ve Grown so Much

Three years is a lot of time, and among the many changes that have taken place, the kids are one of the biggest.  Over the years they’ve really grown, as kids tend to do, and not only have their sizes changed, their personalities have too.   Somehow calling this guy a Milk Monkey just didn’t seem right anymore.

I discussed it with the kids and they’ve decided to forgo the cute, little nicknames that I always found kind of corny and they want me to introduce them as themselves.  So drum roll please…

First up we have Elijah, while he could still be called a Professor, with his head always in a book, he’s not so little anymore.  He’s now inching his way out of the tween years, and making his way to the vast unknown…teenage-hood.  Thankfully we still have another year before we get to explore that fully.

Then we have Isabella, previously known as the Mighty Princess or just Princess for short.  She’s now 10 years old and a little spitfire. She almost always has a smile on her face, but don’t let her sweetness deceive you, she’s a tough little cookie and always ready to stick up for her brothers.

Then we have the littlest, Josiah.  While he’s no longer a milk monkey, he’s definitely still a monkey.  He’s now a whopping 6 years old!  He’s always trying to find ways to get alone time with his mummy, and is still determined to marry me.

Speaking of change, I quit my job a year and half ago.  I’m now officially a stay-at-home mum.  This wasn’t a decision I took lightly, but it was something that was necessary.

I had a fantastic job where I worked from home and an amazing boss, my father in law, and a much needed paycheck.  Being able to work from home seemed like the perfect situation, but in reality I was struggling…really struggling.  I hated pushing my kids aside so often to get work accomplished but we needed the income to pay the bills.

We had made the decision to home school our kids so that I could cultivate their potentials and build strong relationships with them. They could get a good education at a regular school, but homeschooling is about more than education.  It’s about family and nurturing and having the time to explore individual interests.  During those busy days of juggling between the kids and work, it was becoming clear that what we were doing just wasn’t working.

After a lot of praying and seeking God’s will, we came to the decision that I would leave my job and focus on the kids.  Changes had to be made.  We sold our house and moved.  Dan has always wanted to live in Florida, so after a few hurdles, here we are living in the Sunshine State.  We’re really enjoying our new life. There are so many things to do around here and we’ve met a lot of really great people.

Speaking of things to do, we spent this past weekend with these two clowns…

The local library has a summer reading program where the kids log their reading hours and at the end they host a big party.  They had a make-your-own sundaes station, lots of prizes, and a very funny clown show.

Each child was also given a little stuffed animal and a lot of coupons for free meals at various restaurants or discounts at venues like the Crayola Experience.  Elijah and Bella also went home with a prize from Universal, and a stack of encyclopedia type books that will be great for science.

Yesterday we went to Chipotle Mexican Grill for the free lunch they earned with all their reading.  I was impressed by our library and the summer reading program gave a lot of kids an incentive to read.  We really enjoy our local libraries, both here and back in Massachusetts!

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Guess Who’s Back

Yes, it’s true, Honestly Mummy is back!  Cue the applause, light the fireworks, and shout for joy, it is really happening.  My children will be the most excited as they still browse the Honestly Mummy posts – a lot.

So of course, one of the questions I’ve been asked many times over the years is, “why did I stop the blog?” I guess the most honest and simple answer is that I was burnt out and my heart wasn’t in it anymore.  It’s not the only reason, but it was the root of all others.  At the time there wasn’t a conscious decision to stop, it was more like taking a small pause to give myself a chance to catch up with life, but it turns out life doesn’t slow down, and here we are three years later.

When I stopped writing I had an 8 year old, a 7 year old, and 3 year old.   We were closing in on the end of our home school year, a chaotic time for all involved.  It was the big push to get all the curriculum finished in those last 2 months.  That was back when we use to take breaks during the summer.  I wouldn’t say we took summers off, but we took much bigger breaks than we do now because I need them.  I was homeschooling two kids while working full-time from home.  My job started getting much busier, and all the stress started to wear my health down.  Life was overwhelming.  Life is still there, but I’ve learned how to handle the unexpected better.  We’ve made changes, big changes, which have set us on the path for the life we want to live.

To say a lot has happened since that last post back in April of 2014 would be an understatement of gigantic proportions!  Now we’re back, and I’m looking forward to starting this adventure all over again.

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A Fable by the Little Professor

Professor

The Proud Eagle

One day a proud Eagle was flying along when he came across a barn with some crows on top of it. He thought they would want to see him show off some of his amazing skills. So, he went down and said, “I am so much faster than you crows, I could beat you in a one mile race – ten times faster than you guys combined”.

The crows replied, “Yes, you are faster, but God made us a different way.  He made us scared of the Scarecrow.   The only reason we are scared of it, is because of the scary face.  So scary”.

The Eagle said, “Yeah, I guess it is pretty scary”.

“I bet you could not do these moves”, the Eagle continued.

Then the Eagle flew up and flew in a circle three times very fast.  He also saw a field mouse and he dove down to eat it in one gulp!  The Eagle then flew off to find some other birds to show off his awesome moves to.

The Crows said to each other. “If the Eagle isn’t careful about his pride, something embarrassing is going to happen”.

The Eagle flew to a jungle and saw some toucans on top of a tree.  He said the same thing to the toucans that he said to the crows   Then he showed them what he showed to the crows, but this time the last event went a little wrong.  When he swooped down to catch a mouse, he got tangled in a vine.

The wise toucans said, “Pride comes before a fall”, and then they cut the vines with their beaks and the Eagle fell to the ground.

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15 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Homeschoolers

School

1.  Please do not look at our children with pity.  They’re happy, they like to learn at home, they have lots of friends, they don’t have to get up early to catch a bus on very cold days and they get to experience many things other children don’t.  Our family travels a lot during value seasons and we get to go to cool places when it’s quiet and not during school break.  We hardly ever have to wait in lines and we get a lot of discounts.

2.  Please do not ask us about the socialization of our children.  They have many opportunities to socialize in a much broader sense and are constantly learning to become productive citizens. They are able to grow into their own personalities, choose their own interests and create their own sense of style.   Just don’t ask, it’s rude – we don’t ask about your child’s future ability to conform to what society deems acceptable.

3.  Please do not tell us you can’t home school because you don’t have the patience for it.  You are implying that we were born with an endless supply of patience therefore it is easy for us to home school our children.  This is definitely not the case.  Homeschooling is hard and challenging at times but it’s a decision we made based on what we felt was best for our children.  If you don’t want to home school that’s your choice, it’s OK to just say so.  We respect you for it.

4.  Please don’t tell us you can’t home school because you don’t have the discipline or organizational skills – refer to #3 and then visit our home.  Please excuse the clutter!

5.  Please don’t assume we are trying to convert you to homeschooling if we happen to mention it to you.  We are like any other parent, we like to talk about our children’s studies and education and because we home school our views tend to be from that stand point.

6.  Please don’t try to convert us to public school, catholic school, private school or any other school out there.  Like you, we made the choice based on what we thought was best for our children and we are happy with it.

7.  Please do not discourage anyone you know who is thinking about homeschooling their child. It’s a valid choice and it’s a big decision – one that is never taken lightly and can be extremely daunting at first.  You would never discourage someone from sending their child to private school,  so don’t do it with potential homeschoolers.  You know the saying, if you don’t have something nice to say….

8.  Please do not assume that our children will fail to achieve successful futures.  There are a multitude of studies available that show homeschooled children in general score higher on average.  A simple online search will bring up very promising and exciting studies – too many to list.

9.  Please do not assume that we as parents are not intelligent enough to educate our children.  We are capable and while we may not know everything there is, there is a plethora of resources out there for us to direct our children to and help them find the knowledge they need.  You would be surprised at how much our children teach themselves and each other.

10.  Please do not assume we are lazy parents because we choose to home school our children.  Yes, some of us may do our schooling in our pajamas or stretched out across the floor.  Sometimes we do our lessons outside on warm, sunny days under a shady tree.  We may get all our studies finished by lunch time and spend the rest of the day reading, doing crafts or playing games but that does not make us lazy.  We constantly research curriculum, help with assignments, teach our children,  take them on outings, go to co-op classes, mark school work, keep records and many, many other things.  All the things you do as parents and all the things your children’s teacher does too.

11.  Please do not assume we home school because we are scared to allow our children to enter the “real” world.  While we do not keep our children home because of unknown and even a few known dangers lurking around school halls, we do feel that home is a better environment for our children.  It’s not fear that drives us, it’s hope for a better future.

12.  Please do not try to quiz our children, in hopes to point out the flaws in their education. They’re not monkeys ready to perform at will.  Half the time my children will look you right in the eyes and tell you they don’t know the answer to your questions because they’re not allowed to tell you to take a hike!

13.  Please do not tell me that you could never spend so much time with your kids.  That just makes me sad for your kids.

14.  Please do not assume we are weird because we home school.  Some of us are just weird, it might be all the Syfy we watch or maybe we’re just born this way, but it’s not because we home school.  Homeschooling is becoming more acceptable and popular.

15.  Please do not assume that because we home school we hate teachers!  On the contrary, we have a lot of respect for teachers and can’t imagine how they teach a class of 30 kids at once and then have to deal with the parents too.  Kudos to the teachers out there who have committed their lives to teaching children!

 

 

 

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