Friday, June 14, 2019

Thanksgiving in Arkansas and at Home

     I accidentally posted this out of order. Before it was getting to look a lot like Christmas, we had a nice time in Arkansas for Thanksgiving...

      My sister and I took our kids and our Dad on a hike at Woolly Hollow State Park. We walked the Huckleberry Trail around the lake.

Scenes from our day:

Gratitude List From the Week:
     Since I have stretched out my Gratitude List over the course of years, I'm sure I will end up repeating things occasionally. That's ok. They are different feelings and different reasons during different points in life. A beautiful day for a hike (#533), Woolly Holly State Park (#534), my Dad's improving health (#535), after 7 years, my soft, squishy (as more than one of them have described me), warm body is still the biggest comfort to my son (#536), that every time I express that I wish I could have another baby, THIS ONE declares, "Momma, you still have a baby!!!" (#537)

    He's talking about himself, of course. I read some people's opinions recently about how Momma's boys grow up to be narcissistic and terrible partners. :0 It did cause me to pause and worry for a minute haha. My boys aren't given everything they want, though; they are told no, I give it to them straight when I need to, they're pretty sweet I will just keep trying my best to love them like crazy without them turning into terrible romantic partners one day lol.

     Little girls who are quickly turning into big girls...but who can still giggle and make up dance routines that they perform for the family. (#538)

     Cousin movie nights (#539)...and my sister is really funny #540 (memory: Dash telling her about how people watch youtube channels that consist of watching others play video games - and Cary pretending to start a youtube channel about people watching her do her crossword puzzles)

My niece is amazing, and I adore her. (#541)

My nephew is amazing, and I adore him. (#542)

     The best drives from Arkansas to Florida (#543) include a stop at one of the Cafe Sunflower locations in Atlanta:
drumstix for the kids

     one of the best desserts they have (#544)

     We had spaghetti for Thanksgiving at my parents' house. The kids and I, feeling very nostalgic about our holiday traditions, were a little like "Whaaaattt?!" (However, we love spaghetti, and it was delicious. #545) And we also felt badly that Dad had to be at home, working (#546), and Thanksgiving food is one of his favorites. SO, when we returned from our trip, we made a Thanksgiving meal complete with Tofurky...(#547)

and pumpkin pie. (#548)

      Thankful for the 10 hands that belong to my children and husband.(#549-558)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

*side note: I posted this before Thanksgiving accidentally, so it will be out of order.

Out and About
Tornado, waiting to do some updated neuropsychology testing  
as we prepare for this new phase of "adulthood"  

    We always love it when our appointments are in St. Pete. We love going there any chance we get. 

    This pizza roll (warmed up) was one of our favorite treats we have ever gotten at Valhalla Bakery.

       We also just really love Baum Market where Valhalla Bakery is located. It's so cute.

     treats from Valhalla (right bottom corner) and Locale Market (another favorite place to get treats in St. Pete).

     Tornado always loves this sticker wall near Baum Market, so he added one of his own.

Homeschool Academy
     Dash takes a U.S. Geography class this year. He was assigned to read the book What Was Ellis Island? and think of a creative way to teach the subject to the other students. We found this Ellis Island Role Play activity set on Teachers Pay Teachers. It came with this fun, interactive game where the students rolled the paper dice and used this admission card to find out their immigration status. Dash decided if they could be admitted into the U.S. based on the criteria he learned about in the book.

     Dash decided he wanted an ugly sweater to wear to his friends' Christmas party and for pajama day at school. He chose this sweatshirt, which I think is so funny (since he isn't dating or about to date).

     Sis and Ninja both take theater at school. Their different classes are both performing their own The Cat in the Hat plays. Sis was Thing 1.

And Ninja was the Baby Fish.

     My friend, whose daughter was playing a fish in the older class, found this great idea for fish make-up online.

     It looked so great.

excitement for their monthly Bokksu Japanese snack kit

     One day I made muffins while they were at school...

     and we ate them in the treehouse while we read our book The War that Saved My Life together.

      Since we have visited several Civil War battlefields and read multiple books on the subject, we started watching the miniseries North and South as a family. This is probably the 5th time i have ever seen it. At least. (This is one of my favorite scenes I like to act out for my kids.) Also, we had to fast forward several inappropriate-for-kids scenes that I knew were coming. It was great family bonding, though, as we looked forward to watching it for an hour or so most nights for awhile. We watched Book 1 and Book 2, but we did not watch Book 3 because I like to pretend it never happened.

    This goofball wanted to be prepared with hydration during movie night by pouring his milk into one of Ryan's empty 2 liter soda bottles.

     We helped Ninja do a project the other kids did when they were little: planting grass into an aluminum baking pan.

      Hopefully, it will grow, and he can play dinosaurs or people or whatever in the grass. And trim the grass as it grows with scissors.

Christmas Parade
our first Tampa Christmas parade!

       I don't know if it will ever stop being weird being in the heat during the Christmas season. I feel kind of like we are pretending it's Christmas.

We did not know to expect all of the "throwing of beads."

It quickly turned competitive and addictive.

The acquired so many, they were weighed down, and Mom had to help wear them.

     I love Curtis Hixon park.

     After the parade, the little ones got to play in the bounce house.

Preparing for Christmas
I love my new letterboard.

decorating tree #1 in the dining/kitchen area

     finished, along with our advent calendar string (that is still missing a few numbers that I will find as I continue unpacking Christmas decor)

tree #2: homemade ornaments throughout the years

       I don't know what book or movie he got this idea from, but Ninja was very adamant that he, as the youngest child. would place the star on our big tree in the living room.

     How much do I LOVE Christmas and all of my trees and decor? This was our first Christmas with cats...oh, man, I did not think about how they were going to change my holidays. Am I never going to have a normal Christmas again for the next 18 years or so that I have them?! It's a little disappointing. Good thing they are so cute, and I love them so much.

     She thinks she's hiding. She probably broke an ornament and is hiding in shame.

       Sometimes he can be so cuddly, and I will take it whenever I can get it. This is how close we were in the chaise lounge (that is not meant for two people our sizes) as we watched North and South one night. #512 (of my Gratitude List)

       One day, I'm SOOO going to long for the days of waking up to having parade beads strung across my face. He is so wonderful. (#513)

just a boy and his smoothie and his cats, hangin' out

     Also #515-532: St. Petersburg, insurance that pays for things like testing, sticker walls, beautiful artwork on buildings, Baum Market, pizza rolls, Dash's sense of humor, the big sister who loves being a teacher to her little brother, homeschool academy classes, a friend who is always helping me, great things we can learn from horrible times in history, a mini-series that stands the test of time, subscription boxes, parades, my letterboard, how much I have shed my OCD and needs for perfection (see above: cats), and my beautiful staircase.