Sunday, May 19, 2013

Are we rich?

I don't think I ever realized until today how blessed my children and I are. I don't think I ever felt so rich or over indulged...and trust me we are far from rich. We are a single income family. Money is tight, sometimes beyond tight and seems so scarce that we don't know what we'll do. But we pull through, we always do.

 I don't think I knew exactly how blessed we were until today. And the realization shocked me. I have a friend with multiple children. The children are good friends of my girls. The parents are loving parents...very involved in their children's lives. They make sure the children are in the right school district, have plenty of food, extra treats and snacks, hey make sure homework in done before they kids go out to play and they are particular that their children follow safety rules and be respectful, etc.

And I really thought that their home was a lot like ours. Cluttered (maybe a bit neater) since the Momma was more particular about when and where the children eat treats than I am.. She always cares more about what they do if a treat as  they dropson the ground. It's off limits. Whereas my philosophy is blow/brush it off and go ahead. Children eating sand shocks her. My girls have both gone through this phase and my response is's not going to feel good later. :)

So I knew there were some differences...but overall, I felt like we had more similarities than differences and perhaps we still do...

But the other day, I had a reason to enter into their home. I'd never done so before since they live close by...we'd just visited outside...but as I entered the home I was shocked. Not because it was filthy, it wasn't (although mine has been at times). Not because it was cluttered, it wasn't (although mine regularly is). No I was shocked by the sparceness of it. It was bare. In the livingroom there was a couch, a tv and two pictures on the walls. In the children's rooms I saw one doll and no books, puzzles, etc. There are five children living there. ONE DOLL!! Now I know there are a FEW other toys there...but that is all I saw.

This gave me pause. While playing outside the children have toys, a trampoline, bicycles, and such. But indoors....nothing...or very little at least. And I thought back to their reactions upon seeing the girls many fine things. They love to come in our home and play in the girls rooms. Or upon being given a birthday invitation to one of our daughter's birthdays I was told, we don't celebrate ours at all. Hmmm....

And it made me realize how different our families are. I think the children of both are loved and cherished and blessed in both, but I definitely think mine are more indulged. Honestly, I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I was definitely indulged as I grew up...spoiled even, but it was good for me. Yes, you read correctly because it taught me so much and made me want to strive to provide the same for my own family one day. And we try to...

Are my girls, blessed. Yes, beyond any shadow of a doubt. Their biggest worry is whether or not I'll get to the store tomorrow to pick up the next thing they decide they want or whether their sister will be nice. They have no reason to worry about more than this. If something breaks, it will most likely be replaced (assuming it wasn't abused in the process). It something is used up...we'll get more.

So are my girls indulged (and a bit spoiled)  you better believe it. Camps, Lessons, Sports, Toys, and Travels abound in our home. And I think it made me realize, not only do my children have love, but they have things. Now we just have to make sure they realize, that to whom much is given...much is expected. Because my girls certain have much given to them, through love and things, intellect, skills, etc.

Do I do enough to make them realize what is expected in return? I think I do. They see no difference between themselves and their friends. They truly love and respect their friends and willingly share their things day in and day out. And even when my patience wears thin, and I begin to wonder why their friends mistreat the girls toys or act a particular way..or don't know what peaches are when we have them for snack...I have to stop and remind myself. They are different. They've not been given what my girls are. But it's good that they are friends with my girls. They are loving, caring whom much also has been given in love and caring even if not much is given in things.

And it was good for me to realize that those without come in all shapes and forms. It doesn't have to mean the child is going hungry for there to be a lack there.

So as I ponder through this, I find myself answering questions. Do we do too much for the girls? I don't think we do. We expect a lot from them in return for what they have. We try to expose them to culture so they can become well rounded and we want them to respect people, but work hard to make good lives for themselves so they can provide just as good of a life for their children one day. Which brings me back to wondering, is my little family actually rich...yes indeed we are: Spiritually, Emotionally, & Materially. But then again, I guess I never should have doubted that. :)


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Summer Safari

Today began our first day of Summer Vacation, and what a day it was. Ella Rose had her preschool program...which Evie Alice fussed her way through. We quickly followed this by getting a flat tire, but we still managed to cram a tremendous amount into our day and I'm determined we aren't going to waste a minute of our summer vacation. Ella Rose is out of school for 12 weeks and I plan to savor each moment of it. So in addition to all the excitement that I mentioned the other day...we are going to have a Summer Safari at-home-camp too. Now this at home camp will be loosely themed and the schedule will be play as we go, but here are the basics that I've outlined so far...each week will have a theme.

When I began to think about this I started digging through other mother's blogs of successful stay-at-home camps and adventures. The most helpful site that I found was one where a mom had successfully created and successfully held summer camps for her children the past two years...and so I swiped a lot of her themes and then combined them with other themes and ideas that I found from other creative mothers to create a mish mash of themes which we will attempt this summer...You can find her page at Just search for her summer camp ideas.

So with that said the themes for the Summer Safari Camp are:
Week 1: Wildlife explorers
Week 2: Artist/Artisans
Week 3: Trains!
Week 4: Up in the Air!
Week 5: Pirates!
Week 6: Mad Scientists
Week 7: Ocean Wonders
Week 8: Camping/Pioneers
Week 9: Welcome to the Jungle
Week 10: World Travelers
Week 11: Out on the Ranch
Week 12: Water Week

I've also assigned jobs to each day.
Mondays are Park/Pool days.
Tuesdays are Library/Craft days
Wednesdays are Trip days  
Thursdays are Cooking days
Fridays are Pool/Education
Then as far as a daily schedule goes we are going to play it by ear...BUT I want to fit certain things into each day include nap time (2 hours), a story time, and a themed snack. Then a few times a week, I want do a craft/science experiment, handwriting/ math or language skill each day. Other than that, my goal is to have the girls outside at least 4 hours each day.
They'll easily play all afternoon outside if I let them so this shouldn't be too much of a stretch. I'll try to update each week with pictures and descriptions of how the week went.

Welcome Summer, these Game Rangers are going to have many wonderful Sundowners!

Boop doop de doop!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Summer time and the living is BUSY!!!

I can hardly believe it. I've been a stay at home Momma for a year now and summer time is upon us once again.Wow! The time certainly has flown.

But, you wouldn't know it's almost summer time by the weather we are having. I even had to put a light jacket on Evie Alice and me this morning as we ran out of the house to do an early morning errand...nonetheless...summer is here. Ella Rose has one more day of school and then she officially becomes a pre-k girl.Where has the time gone? How can my big girl be ready to go to pre-k. And how am I going to feel when it's time for her to go to kindergarten in a year....hmmm....

Thankfully, we are able to put off her entry into public school this year. So she will be completing her pre-k in the same school that she did her two year old preschool and three year old preschool tenures. I am so thankful she's staying put..but nonetheless the transition seems huge to me. How can my baby be so BIG!

And summer hasn't even started but it's already packed! Granted it's packed with fun filled activities...but it's still slam full. Josh was joking just the other day with Ella Rose that she will need a vacation from her summer and I do believe that's true.

So what have we got planned for the summer? Well, here's the mega-long list. Ella Rose is doing Dance camp, Gymnastics Camp, "School camp" three days this summer and swimming lessons. Evie Alice has a Dr's appt for her eye that doesn't track properly, story hour at the library, weekly play dates
 and many family activities planned. We are going to participate in the summer reading program from the library. We will see a few of the kids summer movies when we can fit it in to
our schedule we are going to Camp CoCo...our family camp in Arkansas...taking a family trip to the beach, and visiting Disney World and Universal Studios on the way home from the beach....then of course there are play dates, trips to the pool, a dance recital, and Vacation Bible school that I'm directing and the girls are participating in.

I can hardly wait! Now if the weather would just cooperate...we would be good to go. Bring on the triple digit weather.... so the fun can begin. :)

Boop doop de doop.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Lovely, soft, cloud dust filled days. Thank God.

Today made me wonder if I'd inadvertently moved to Ireland on a warm summer day (since their hottest days are in the 70s). Not only did the temperatures here rival your usual Irish summer weather (low sixties) but the softing (rain) also modelled the Irish experience exactly. So I found myself ," thinking back to my Irish Summers of days gone by. How I loved my summers there and listening to people say, " 'tis a lovely soft day, thank God," as they carried own with their every day lives in the softing rain.

 Rain didn't stop or slow down lives wasn't an inconvenience. It was a blessing. Whenever I'm out and out in the "softing" I often think of my adventures in Ireland. And today was no exception.

   So the softing rain today and the cool temperatures as of late have made me wonder on more than one occasion whether we've moved to Ireland, and are simply unaware. Seriously though,  the weather has been quite wacky as of late...and living in south Georgi mid-sixties are regular occurrences in mid-February...but rarely seen in early May. Usually, we are hitting the mid to upper 80s and preparing our bodies for many days of 100+ weather during the summer. This year, that preparation seems today could be a nice February way or even a warmer March day...but definitely does not feel very May-like.

So I decided that since we've moved into Ireland's climate whether or not we've actually moved that the girls and I would have an Irish adventure today. We would walk to the neighborhood market and pick up some ingredients for supper tonight. So we set out on a very Irish-like adventure with the girls loaded into their double stroller we began to walk to the store. Another of the things I loved about Ireland was being able to walk every place in town we wanted to go. My little sister and I had a regular path worn between our flat and the grocery store. The refrigerator for the family was similar in size to a large dorm frig and so we had to make multiple trips by foot to the store each week. Those trips were fun...and honestly, just finding the grocery store was an adventure since it was situated back in a mall on the lower level.

Of course today, there was no search for the store. We simply had to head up the street hang a right at the light, walk past our church and the neighborhood store would be one block ahead. So off we went. Now, unlike our trips to the "grocery" in Ireland when we were visiting a truly Irish this case our neighborhood market carries only the very basics.  Usually, I frequent it only when I realize at the the last minute that I'm out of a crucial ingredient. But today, although I needed a few ingredients for a squash casserole and some baking soda to make blueberry muffins I really just wanted to get out of the house, exercise, and spend some time with my girls.

 And so off we went. We walked in the softing rain, neither girl seems to care and nor did I. In short, we had a blast. I found myself noticing details I'd missed out on as I'd sped by them in my car. I'd not noticed our church sign  listed the family service. I'd missed sharing how to suck the honey suckles properly with my daughter. Of course, our walk remedied both of these problems. Ella Rose was amazed by how sweet the honey suckle tasted. And I found myself thinking back to memories of my own Momma teaching me the very same things.

And continuing in the line of creating memories, I decided it was time to create some cloud dust (mixing flour and canola oil) in order make play sand for the front porch. The girls had fun building sand castles with it on our covered porch despite the softing rain...and our dear Daisy dog jumped the fence repeatedly just so she could join in on the fun.

Days like this make the cooler weather not seem so bad...after all those Lovely soft days gone by contain so many fond memories....So summer weather even though I long for you...I'm appreciative for these memory filled moments of cool early spring like soft days with jumping daisies, clouds on the front porch, and softing rain falling while my girls and I explore the wonders of childhood all over again.