Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ultimate Blog Party 2014

Welcome to Refrigerator Memories! That's a funny name (I know you're thinking it). Here's why I chose it.

This is my second year participating and I'm excited to see what this blog party brings. Last year's post came at an exciting time in our lives. I was due with baby #3 and went two weeks late!

Well this year is just as crazy. My husband left for Afghanistan a little over a week ago after a very short notice. We weren't planning on spending another year apart but sometimes God and life just have other ideas. We're OK with it and the kids and I are going to be moving back to my hometown in NE Ohio where we can be with family. We are preparing to make the move from our home here in Southern Arizona next week so again with the insane timing of the Ultimate Blog Party!

I'm sorry for a lack of photos. I blame it on the lack of computer that is currently packed away and the fact that my iPad is not letting me add any. You can find me blogging about our daily life, my favorite recipes, some crafts, and any other topic that happens to strike my fancy.

Thanks for stopping by and stick around to follow our ever changing fast paced life!

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Great Debate

Homeschool vs non homeschool. It's a pretty hot topic right now in the education world. There are so many options out there to choose from regarding the education of your children. I grew up going to the same tiny public school from kindergarten on through graduation and enjoyed it. And because of that positive experience, I wanted the same for my kids. So that brings us to the great debate...

There were several local schools here that we had considered and we chose a small charter school with great teachers and that had a small school feel to it. Alena has done very well there and we love her first grade teacher because she saw how smart Alena was and is actually doing some individualized/extra teaching for her (she has Alena doing 3rd grade spelling AND math work).

BUT with this sudden move and the fact that we will be going with just one month of school left, I didn't want to enroll Alena in a school for such a short time. Especially with everything that is going on; her daddy going overseas, we move across the country, all these life changing things. So I don't want to add more stress in her life. I have already spoke with her teacher and she assured me Alena would have no problem going into second grade come this fall. Christian's teachers have also let us know many times that he is WAY ready for kindergarten.

So what am I getting at? I will be getting a sort of curriculum for Alena from her teacher so I can work with her at home. Basically, homeschooling for that last month. And it got me thinking...

Can I do this? Can I actually teach my children? Kids learn stuff from their parents all the time but really learning; that's a whole new ball game. That would mean I'm responsible for so much more. Science, History, Math, English, all those subjects! It's intimidating. Not to mention that Alena is not one who likes to take any sort of teaching or directions from me. We butt heads so much! And Christian is your typical can't hold still rough and rowdy boy so that would be a challenge on my patience for sure.

We'll be living with my parents for the duration of Gabe's deployment. I'm not a big fan of the school district that they live in. The kids would end up riding the bus every day (unless I drive them which I do now and do not enjoy it) totaling about two hours. Add in the six hours they would be at school and almost their entire day is taken up by school. The next closest school district is the one I grew up in. While I love the idea that they would be in the same classrooms I sat in 20+ years ago, (Eek, I'm getting old!) I would be shuttling them to and from school every day. Driving every day is something I am trying to avoid. I do it now for two different schools (Alena and Christian do not go to the same school; it's unavoidable) and it puts not only myself but Noah in the car an extra 3 times a day. Almost every day I'm either waking Noah up from naps or he ends up falling asleep in the car because of drop offs and pick ups and I think parents can understand the frustration that comes with that. Not mention that it leaves me with a lot less time to get stuff done. Driving them to and from school in Ohio would be an even greater pain when you mix in the fact that the distance would be three times more than here in Arizona making time in the car also that much more. Driving is just not an option I will consider at this point.

As of now, I'm seeing a lot of positives for homeschooling. Yes, there are some negatives too (can we say mommy's gonna need a break and a drink?!). Alena is already doing third grade work when she's only in first. Christian's teachers how told us how far above kindergarten he is already. Homeschooling would give us the opportunity to continue on this advanced pace. It also allows us to visit the in laws without having to wait for a school break. And let's not forget that when Gabe has his R&R, they will not be missing school OR miss spending time with their daddy.

What I'm getting around to with this novel of a post is that I think for this upcoming school year, homeschooling is our best option. That's not to say that the following year they will go back to public school or we'll be homeschooling again. I don't know what will happen. We're just going to take things one day at a time and I'm going to do LOTS of praying for patience and sanity. And coffee. :)

I never actually thought I would homeschool. Just like I never thought I would breastfeed until two years or that I would have a home birth, or do many of the other parenting decisions we all face differently than I first thought. Isn't that how life and parenting goes though? You always think you know how things will go but we actually don't. And believe me, this decision surprises me probably more so than anyone else.

And the life changes just keep coming...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Our Last Days

Gabe leaves tomorrow so today we're spending as much quality time together as possible. Since we found out Gabe was going overseas we've been going nonstop with the yard sale, packing, getting ready to move, and trying to spend time together as a family. Here's a lot of pictures of what we've been up to the past couple of weeks.

We sold most of our furniture right at the start so we're left with camping chairs. This was how we ate our pizza dinner.

We had some fun at the mall with the safari animal rides.

There was a carnival in town so of course we hit it up. Noah wanted nothing to do with being held so he walked around and made friends while the kids rode the rides. He loved this dog and walked right up to him, mouth open giving kisses!

The clippers tickle!

Next up were haircuts for all the boys! I didn't want Noah to have one yet (I want him looking like a baby for as long as possible!) but did want Gabe to be there for his first one. So he got one and I was right, he looks so OLD! He did really well and as you can see in the above pic, even enjoyed the clippers. Noah was giggling because it tickled. He got restless after about five minutes so I kept him occupied with M&Ms (sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do).

Not pictured were many meals spent out to Texas Road House, Buffalo Wild Wings, pizza, Chipotle, and asian meals; many bedtime wrestling matches, trip to the movies, playing at the skate park, family photos, and more that I'm forgetting. It's been quite a whirlwind and won't be slowing down any time soon. The kids are going to miss havingdaddy around and I'm definitely going to miss having my husband and partner around.

Please pray for his safety and keep us in your thoughts during this hectic time.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Noah - 11 Months

Weight - 18.1 lbs  Not really any gain but it's not concerning me any.

Height - 29 in  Getting long and skinny.

Appearance - Where has my baby gone?! When awake, you are all toddler. I feel like I only have my baby when you are asleep. You have blond hair and blue eyes, although in certain lights you definitely have hints of red in your hair.

Eating - This has been the month that your nursing has started to space out! We're talking around 4 hours sometimes. You love food and will give everything a try. Yogurt, bananas, Oreos (when he can get a taste), apples, chicken, and others I can't think of at the moment are your favorites.

Sleeping - Because of the upcoming move and the fact that our furniture is already gone, I nurse you to sleep in bed. Your naps have actually gotten better/longer lately! I think because you are spacing out your daytime nursing sessions, you are making up for it at night because you are practically latched all night long. You go down around 9 pm and sleep until 7-8 am.

Sizes -  You wear are wearing 12 month clothes and size 3 diapers. You do have a few Old Navy brand 6-12 months outfits but this may be the last month you'll wear them. You rarely wear shoes but they are size 3 or 12-18 months.

Milestones - Climbing! We have to keep the step stool folded up or we will find you at the top reaching for everything on the counter.

I can't believe I'm even typing this but you have vocabulary! We have heard you say "more, all done, hi, dada, and mama"

Your babbling has really taken off! You like to make your presence known to everyone. You talk and talk so much and we love it. Although, when we're in a store or church and you are bellowing your happy yells, not so much. But at least you're happy. :)

You get into SO much! I know it's normal but goodness, you grab anything in your reach and turn it into a toy. You don't even play with your real toys.

Likes - wrestling, being outside, swinging (LOVE it and will cry when we take you off), watching Alena and Christian play, looking out the windows and doors
Dislikes - baths (still don't this month and is the strangest thing considering how much you used to love it), having things taken from you like toys or something you shouldn't be having, when you have a dirty diaper, diaper changes, coming inside when you're playing outside

Your personality is bursting this month and you are the funniest kid! Noah, you are always making us laugh. You mastered walking and quickly moved onto running. Daddy introduced you to "magic chocolate" for when you get hurt (which is quite a bit since you are SO active) and it always works. Just one or two chocolate chips does the trick. The toddler tantrums have already begun. We're talking on the ground, crying, and dramatic. I can't believe you are only one month from turning one! We love you so so SOOO much Noah!