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!

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.

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.

Delicious Carrot Cake….

cake 2

Some things are just too wonderful not to share and this carrot cake recipe is one of them. Carrot cake is Big D’s favourite cake of all time, but a good carrot cake is hard to find.  Most are either too plain, or too dry.  Often they are too fluffy and you can taste the baking soda in it   Big D likes his cake thick and dense.  The layers should be moist, with texture and a heaviness to them.  The icing should be creamy and rich to stand up to the heartiness of the cake.

This carrot cake has it all!

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon (I made mine heaping)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of pureed pineapple – I pureed my mine from a fresh pineapple.
  • 2 cups of carrots

I mixed all the dry together in one bowl, and all the wet together in another and then combined them and mixed them with the mixer.   I like to keep things easy.  I greased and floured the pans, then added a thin layer of shredded, unsweetened coconut to the bottom (this is extra, not the 1/2 cup added to the dry ingredients.  If you use, 8″ or smaller pans you can get three layers.   Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 mins, until golden brown and fully cooked.  Make sure to test it because it’s a very moist cake and might need a little longer depending on the oven.  Then frost with the icing below.

Icing

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp of milk
  • 1 Tbsp of  pure vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups of powdered sugar  – depending on the consistency you like.

Mixed the cream cheese and butter first, then the vanilla and milk and slowly add the powdered sugar until you get the consistency you like, then ice the cake.

Enjoy!

 

The Drive Down…

After some much needed rest, relaxation and a wonderful trip to Florida, I am back.

Christmas was great and our New Year was spent driving south.

trip 1

We left at 4 am on New Years day – what a way to start 2014!

The kids were excited to be on our way even though they were tired and a little cold at first, but promises of warmer weather and some fun at Disney was well worth waking up so early.

We were originally suppose to leave the Friday, but with a big snow storm quickly on it’s way we had to get the trailer on the road.  We would never have been able to pull the trailer out with huge snow banks on either side of the road.  Not knowing how far south the storm would go we drove as far as we could that first day, spending many hours in the truck…

Trip 2

…but I was prepared.

I had 3 personalized trip bags filled with both fun and yummy goodies and it kept the kids busy.

The kids also had their kindles.

trip 5

trip 3

Thankfully there was plenty of time to sleep off the Goldfish hangover.

The kids are use to long drives, but this one was beyond long, however the destination kept us going.  Also, we needed to get far enough south so it was warm for us to sleep in the trailer overnight.  We stopped at a Flying J in South Carolina for the night.  It was our first time sleeping in the trailer in a parking lot and it went really well.  Flying J’s are amazing for RVer’s, they have special gas islands that make it easy to fill up which makes it easier than gassing up like this…

trip 4

It can be very stressful pulling into a gas station we don’t know and face the challenge of getting ourselves out again, so we stopped at as many Flying J’s as we could.

 trip 7

We were so happy to see the Florida sign…even if it wasn’t very sunny when we reached The Sunshine State.  We stopped at the Welcome station and enjoyed some delicious OJ which renewed us enough to make the rest of the trip to Cocoa Beach.  It was basically an uneventful drive and we were just happy to be starting our vacation.

trip 8

trip 9

trip 10

It’s like Adirondack chairs were made for this little cutie!

Time for a Montage…

If I were to write a post about what we’ve been up to in the past couple weeks, it would take hours for you to read, so instead I’ve put together a montage!

Who doesn’t love a montage?

Of course, a montage isn’t a true montage without music so I encourage you to hum your favourite song while you view the pictures.

mont 17

Tree decorating,

mont 15

and Christmas parties,

mont 14

with crafts,

mont 13

lots of crafts.

mont 16

Hair dyes…but only temporary.

mont 7

Sleepy puppies,

mont 12

and babies and puppies.

mont 8

First black eye (the Princess),

mont 9

first time wearing underwear,

mont 4

and first hair cut.

mont 5

So handsome!

mont 11

More sleepy puppies.

mont 10

Discovering and disappearing into the world of Lego!

mont 1

The stomach bug making it’s way through the family.

mont 2

Comfort that only a sleepy puppy can provide.

mont 3

Unadulterated cuteness!

Holiday Stroll….

christmas stroll

It’s been a while since I last wrote a post.  I’ve been busy with every day life, something I’m sure everyone can relate too.  The little Monkey has been feeling icky and that makes him extra buggy, if there is such a thing as him being even more buggy than usual.  You would think being two is bad enough.

Homeschooling has been extra busy lately too.  The Little Professor has been swamped with projects, reports, essays and experiments.   I’m not sure what they were thinking when the created his curriculum but apparently they do not know how many hours are in a day.  Thankfully he loves it, so it’s not hard to get him to do his work, plus he committed to getting it done so that he doesn’t have to work on it when we’re in Disney in a month from now.

We’re super excited about that!  We are going to be testing out the new MagicBands, so we have our Fast Pass rides selected and ready to go.  That’s just made us even more excited since we know what days we’ll be going on which rides!  It doesn’t get much better than that.

In the mean time, tonight we attended our town’s annual Holiday Stroll.  It’s something the kids like to do every year.  I, personally, am not a big fan because it’s cold and there are so many people…two things I’m not a big fan of, but I do it because the kids love it.  This year we went early, which helped with the crowds and the cold, and we got to see Santa arriving escorted by police cars and fire trucks.  The kids wanted to go and sit on his lap but Big D and I refused to wait in the massively long line up.   I don’t know, maybe if it had been warmer or maybe if Santa wasn’t hanging out at the local funeral home, we might have waited but the combination was a big deterrent and we decided to go try the soup at the First Baptist church instead.

Those lady’s at that church sure do make great soup!  It’s my absolute favourite part of the Holiday Stroll.  After the soup, we made our way over to one of the banks who takes Polaroids of the kids meeting a various “winter” characters.  This year it was the Gingerbread Man, the Christmas Tree and a Penguin.

christmas stroll 2

 I have no idea who thinks this up, but the kids love it.  The Princess has been talking about it for weeks, so she was so excited to do it.  Later we had Santa hats made with the kids names on it…again!  I’m not sure what we’ll do with all those hats we’ve had made.  I was kind of hoping they would have something like stockings instead, but nope…it was hats.

Eventually, we made our way home and Big D started a fire and we all warmed up.  Somehow, I managed to get the Oscar Meyer Wiener song in my head and the little Professor was looking at me strangely as I sang it to myself.  He thought I was pretty nuts and when I asked him what kind of wiener he wished he was then, he replied “The kind that doesn’t get eaten”.  That made me laugh and laugh…he’s a funny kid that one!

Monkey Lungs…

Monkey

 

As strange as it seems, we are dealing with the same medical issues with the Monkey as we were last year at this time.

Once again, he has the same never ending cold/allergies that he had last year and once again he his chest X-rays show pneumonia.  This seems too coincidental to me and thankfully his pediatrician thinks so too.  What is even more suspicious is that his follow up chest X-ray, taken two weeks later, shows suspected pneumonia too.   The Monkey’s doctor decided it was time to consult another specialist (last year it was the allergist).  He gave us the number to Children’s Hospital Pulmonary, and told us to ask to see a specific doctor.  He also mentioned that we probably wouldn’t get an appointment with that doctor because he’s the best in the field and is probably booked up for at least 6 months out, but it was worth a try.  If that wasn’t discouraging enough he also said there was a good chance we wouldn’t even get an appointment with Children’s Hospital within the next 8 weeks.  He said if that’s the case to call him back and he’d try or send us somewhere else.

I was really frustrated to be referred to “the best” only to  be told it’s probably not going to happen.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, we were given this information after hours so we had to patiently wait until morning to find anything out.  I decided to not get upset or stressed out and just left it with God.  My thinking was that He would work it all out.

This morning Big D called to make an appointment and after called me with the great news.  Not only did we get an appointment with the Children’s Hospital but we got it with the doctor we wanted in 4 weeks and at a satellite office not far from home.  Once again God far exceeded my expectations!

I’m very hopeful that this doctor will be able to tell us what’s going on.   I would really like to see my little guy feeling better!  Maybe it is a complete coincidence or maybe they’re just reading the X-ray wrong – I don’t know, but I know whatever it is I know God has our back and will see us through this.

Turning 40…

40

Tomorrow I turn 40 – it feels very surreal to me.  It doesn’t matter how old I get, inside I still feel the same.  My body is older, bigger, a little more wrinkled.  My hair is a little thinner and is turning grey strand by strand.  I’m now the mother of three kids and my life is filled with responsibilities – “me time” is rare, even on vacation, and I can’t just pick up and change things, just because I want to, anymore.  Gone are the days of living off sushi and going to tanning beds (not my smartest moments), and instead of popping out to the store in my Miata, I weigh the importance of what I want against the hassle of herding three kids into the SUV and policing them while in the store.

My life is now exhausting!  There is not a single night that I don’t go to bed completely drained and thankful for sleep, but the older I get the more elusive it is.  I now rely on melatonin to help me fall asleep – it helps me drift off before my brain takes over about bills, and school projects, and things that need cleaning.

There are days when I’ve had enough – that’s actually what I say “I’ve had enough!”  I want to quit and go back to a simpler life, rewind the clock and be young again and get my easy life back.

Except that I really don’t!

I love who I am now.   I’m wiser than I use to be, I’m more confident and I’m emotionally stronger.   I don’t get offended as easily as I use to and I can stand up for myself and the people I love in ways I never could.

More importantly, I love being a mother.  I love wrapping my arms around my children and burying my face in their hair.  I love watching them grow and learn and relate to their world around them.   I would never want to change that for the world, especially not for less wrinkles and  a body less affected by gravity.

Everything I’ve experienced in the last 40 years have gotten me to this place and I am thankful for that.  I don’t want to go back, I want to keep going forward.  I’m excited for the many more years to come!