Tuesday, October 8, 2013

It's cooling off...

We're finally getting a small taste of fall weather down here and it's making everyone giddy!  Beautiful weather = happy moods!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Cade finally got to ride Cochise again after a long time.  Cochise is his favorite horse and he's been asking to ride him for awhile.  Finally, his amazing teacher Cassandra, got Cochise for him.  Cde did very well.  He has to be reminded occasionally of keeping his back straight, heels down, and eyes forward but he does very well with leading Cochise.  And look at him trot all by himself, without a lunge line!

Old MacDonald's Farm

We had a "staycation" recently and we spent one of our days at Old MacDonald's Farm.  It was HOT!!  It seems like a great place to spend time at when the weather is a little cooler.  There were a few deer roaming around (along with peacocks) and we were able to feed them. We were also able to go into pens and pet the animals as well as feed them...sheep, goats, calves, rabbits, pigs. 

In the goat pen, a little pygmy goat (so stinkin' cute!!) kept trying to eat Camden's shirt. Ha!  I had to keep pulling her shirt out of it's mouth.  Camden also got to ride a pony for the first time ever!  It's name was Andy and Camden did a good job.  She acted real cool about it...I thought for sure she would be super excited since she loves horses so much.

We finally got to hot and had to leave.  We ended up at Chick-Fil-A getting milkshakes. :-)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

To Market

We drove out to the farmer's market this morning so I could buy pastured eggs, fresh Fredericksburg peaches.  I also ended up buying a bag of pecans from a little old man who said he has about 50 pecan trees on his property!

On the way, Camden said, "How are we going to the City Market?"  (The city market is a part of the Ratatouille video game!)  Cade said, "Food market, Camden.  It's called the food market."  And my response, "Umm, it's actually called the farmer's market.  We're going to the farmer's market."  Not sure how I got blessed with such adorable kids!
We looked at a few of the booths and there was one that sells local honey.  They also had a display container that contained tons of honey bees and a beehive.  There were a few bees flying around which meant they were flying around us as we stood there.  I was freaking out on the inside but I stayed cool!  I have a ridiculous fear of bees/wasps/flying, stinging insects but I never let on to it because Cade has developed a fear of them, too.  I don't want him to be afraid.  I'm always encouraging him to be brave so I figure I better do the same.  Anyway, we only stood there for about 10 seconds before we hightailed it out of there!  We ended up at the little playground and the kids got to play for about 20 minutes.  There was a nice breeze but it was so darn muggy (it had rained a little earlier) and the sun was blazing hot!
Cade made that face because he didn't want me to take any pictures of him.  He says everyone will laugh at him.  I told him if anyone laughs, I'll beat them up! :-)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Random Photos

I have a few blogs that I just love to read.  I think the one thing that really stands out is that they document the everyday things.  I want to do that.  I forget so much cute stuff that my kids say and do.  I want to remember!  I plan on posting more often.  I won't necessarily have a story to tell or great wisdom to share, but that's okay.  What I will have is a slice of life documented right here. :-)

A few weeks ago, my in-laws were out of town so we went to their house and used their pool!  The kids had a blast!  I even enjoyed myself.  (I'm not a big fan of the water--I usually don't like getting wet.) 
Cade is a stinkin' fish!  That boy is all over the pool, swimming and diving and just loving it!
Camden had so much fun, too!  She floated with the noodles and even practiced her swimming in the hot tub.  She's doing good...she'll go under and swim for a couple of beats.  I have to be right next to her, though. 

Jeff is such a good daddy.  He watches over his kids.  He helps them swim and plays with them.  He's a lot of fun!
For our mother's day MOPs meeting, we took our moms to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  I had grilled salmon which was soooo good.  I also had Black Tie cheesecake for dessert.  Yum!  I wish this picture of me and my mom had turned out better.  I don't have any other recent pictures of the two of us together.  The back lighting made this such a poor quality.  At least I have this one, though!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

90 day challenge update

I haven't completed the challenge yet.  We're on day 63 and I haven't lost as much weight as I'd like but that's because I haven't worked as hard as I should have!  I did great the first 30 days but then I seriously slacked off for the next 30 days.  Regardless, I'm down 10 pounds and I feel much better about myself.  Here's a picture of me and my sweet babies from Mother's Day.  I have so far to go but I have to acknowledge my victories along the way.  I'm wearing shorts again!  I haven't worn shorts in over 5 years. 
On May 4, I participated in the Gritty Goddess 5K obstacle course mud run.  It was so much fun!!  I didn't run it, though.  I walked with a couple of friends.  We had a team called the MOPs Mombies.  We're all MOPs mommas and after I told the story of how Camden called me mombie, we thought that would be a perfect name! 
I loved doing the obstacles and I even had fun getting all muddy.  The obstacles weren't really physically difficult.  There was a bunch of climbing and crawling.  One was very tough, though.  Monkey bars.  About 6 or 7 rungs and if you dropped off, you fell into the water.  I'm so proud to say that I made it all the way across!  It was so hard--it took every bit of strength I could muster.  Anyway, I had such a good time that I've already registered to do it again this September!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Another busy Saturday

We had such a fun day today.  I told Camden that she was going to a birthday party today and she would get fairy wings.  She asked if she would be able to fly! Ha!
My friend Kendra did a great job setting the party up.  Each guest received a bag with wings, a wand, and bubbles when they walked in.  There was a "fairy garden" station where the girls got to plant a pretty flower in a terra cotta pot.  Camden loves her flower!  I think it's a Marigold.  There was also a "sparkle station" where they were able to spray glitter in their hair, choose a bling ring, and choose their very own lipgloss!
Before cake and presents, each girl received a personalized letter from the queen fairy.  It was filled with glitter and asked for help gathering supplies to help Tinkerbell build a new home.  It was a scavenger hunt!  It was kept simple (the girls were ages 2-4) but they had so much fun and got a reward when they completed the hunt.

Most of my pictures of Camden look like this (she was so busy running around!):
After that (as if that wasn't enough activity for one day!), we headed over to Nanny and Grandpa's house to go swimming.  They were gone but they let us come over anyway.  Both kids LOVE to swim!  Cade is very good.  He's like a crazy water bug and is all over the pool.

Camden is getting pretty good, too.  She's taking swimming lessons so she's learning but she still has a long way to go before she can be alone in the pool.  She was swimming, though.  Going under and kicking her feet and having so much fun that she was literally squealing!
Jeff and I both got in and played with the kids.  It was freezing at first but wasn't bad once we got used to it.  It was so hot outside and the sun was beating on us so it was kind of nice being in the water.  I really don't like swimming...I don't like being wet...but I had a good time.  Since it was just us, I was able to relax and just enjoy my family.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April is "Autism Awareness" month

Here is a copy of what I posted on Facebook regarding autism awareness:

I wouldn't consider reading a cute little "autism awareness" slogan as truly being aware. There's so much more to it than knowing that these kids have language delays, social delays, and sensory issues.

Are you aware that having a child with autism means that I sometimes lie awake at night, my stomach in knots, wondering how things are going to be for my son when he's grown? He's 11...I only have a few more years before he's legally an adult. Will I be able to teach him enough, will he be able to *learn* enough, to function successfully on his own?

Are you aware that my heart breaks when I see little boys hanging out together, knowing that even though my son is as friendly as they come, he doesn't have the joy, the closeness, the comradery that comes along with having a best friend?

Are you aware that it tears me up to realize that maybe he would be doing even better if only I had been trying harder? My worst nightmare is to let him down, to fail him.

Are you aware that I am beyond thrilled that he still holds my hand in public? He has no idea that its not cool to hold your mom's hand and I love it! I love that I still get to give him hugs and kisses any time I want!

Are you aware that my heart just about bursts with pride when I hear my sweet boy say, "I did it, Mommy! I tried a bite of new food and I liked it!" (Even though he refuses to eat any more of it.) The little accomplishments feel so huge.

Are you aware that I love my son more than life itself?

He may have autism, but he is not autism. He is special, he is beautiful, he is Cade.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mosaic Reviews--We Choose Virtues

I had the awesome opportunity to review a product called We Choose Virtues. You know what virtues are, right?  A virtue is "moral excellence and righteousness; goodness."  Honesty, patience, obedience, forgiveness, diligence, contentment, perseverance, etc.  Those good character qualities that we all need.  That's right...all of us, not just our children!

This is the idea behind WCV: 
Let's be honest, instilling virtues in kids is hard work! 
But can it be fun too?  We think so. In fact, there's no better way to learn. 
So We Choose Virtues brings memorable catchphrases, endearing characters, and just plain fun to 

Simply Inspire Character that Lasts. 
I was sent a set of Virtue Flash Cards, a Parent Card, a Family Character Assessment,  a Teacher's Handbook (PDF), Butterfly Award (PDF), and Coloring Book (PDF).  *Now here is where I'd like to let you know that this is not my first time hearing of WCV.  I've bought from them in the past. :-)  As a matter of fact, I currently own, and have hanging on a wall in my dining room, the Kids Virtue Poster.  This poster has been invaluable!  I love being able to direct my children over to the wall and have them look up the virtue that they're needing "help" with at the moment!  I also own the Virtue Clues cards--these are absolutely perfect for carrying in my purse and pulling out as needed!

The Family Character Assessment lists all 12 virtues and allows your children to rate themselves (you can rate them, as well--it's interesting to compare the results!) The Teacher's Handbooks includes 4 simple steps to teaching virtues.  The Butterfly Award can be printed as often as needed and is to honor your child when you feel they have been succeeding at a particular virtue.  To be honest, we haven't used this award.  Yet!  I've been reinforcing virtues and encouraging them daily.  I think this award will make them feel accomplished and have pride in their efforts.

I decided to start with "I am Forgiving" since that is the parent card I received.  Each parent card has a cute little "virtue kid" on the front along with a positive statement and a positive "I am not" statement.  It also has a scripture listed (you can choose from NIV or KJ).  Side note--you can also choose to receive cards without scripture if you want to use these in a secular setting.  The back of the card is jam packed with great stuff...a virtue user challenge, what to say after "I'm sorry," teachable moments ideas.  It also has a short story about the virtue kid.  While I was reading the story to my kids, they were able to color the corresponding coloring sheet that I printed out for them.  This kept them busy but focused as we discussed the virtue and talked about how it relates to us in our day to day life.
The Virtue Flash Cards are similar to the Parent Cards.  They don't have all the extra stuff that the parent cards have on the back, but they have the basics...the positive statements and the scripture.  There are game ideas that can help with memorizing these.  

We Choose Virtues has several kits available for purchase, including a classroom kit, home school kit, church kit, family kit and others.  You can also purchase each item individually.  Prices range from free (Yes, free!  Memory Verses, Bible Heroes and Truths; Family Character Assessment) to $244.99 (Classroom Deluxe Kit).

I highly recommend this curriculum, not only to homeschoolers, but to anyone with kids.  Like I said, character development is something that we all need to work on.  We Choose Virtues makes it fun and meaningful!  As an added bonus, I have a couple of coupon codes for you!  (They cannot be combined.)

VIRTUE15 is good for 15% off any order and is a lifetime code that does not expire.

HOME20 is for the Homeschool Kit and is good until the end of April 2013.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Gearing up for a 90 day challenge

I'm fed up with my weight.  I'm tired of being blubbery and out of shape.  I'm tired of eating tons of junk food which I know leads to bad health.  I've been so addicted to sugar.  The other day I saw a picture of myself.  I didn't realize how big I had gotten.  I was actually quite embarrassed, realizing that while I thought I wasn't too overweight, everyone else saw the real "fat" me.  That was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I signed up to be a part of a 90 day Beachbody challenge.  While I'm waiting for the challenge to start I've been eating clean.  No processed foods, no sugar, lots of protein and veggies and fruit.  I'm staying away from grains (although whole grains are acceptable when eating clean).  I eat 5 times a day, about every 2 1/2-3 hours.  I've also been following an exercise video called Chalean Extreme.  It is killer and I love it!  It's mostly slow, heavy lifting.  And about a billion lunges and squats! 

In the very first week, I lost 3 1/2 pounds!!  I'm excited about that.  Although it does feel like it'll take forever to lose all the weight I need to.  And here is where I work on my consistency, determination, and patience. :)

I'll be using my blog to document my journey.  Here's my intro video that I shared with my challenge group:

I'll eventually post before and after pictures.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mosaic Reviews--Blog Planner Review

I'm a little excited about this post.  This is my first review as a team member of Mosaic Reviews!  We were given a choice of ten free blog planners to review.  This was perfect for me because, to be honest, it never crossed my mind to plan out my blog posts!  I know all the big bloggers do it but I'm more of what you call a "random" blogger.  In the past I've gone an entire year without blogging!  I'm a little more consistent now but my posts are still random...I write about whatever I'm thinking of or whatever pictures I'm looking at. ;-)

I chose this planner from The Flourishing Abode.
You know why?  Because it is simple.  It is perfect.  It fits me.  The other blog planners were amazing as well, but this one...it is exactly what I need.  One page encompasses an entire week.  There is a line for each day.  This is where I scheduled a couple of blog post topics according to what we had going on that week.  I kind of rock at fill-in-the-blank forms! haha  

Under the weekly section there are two columns separated into four sections.  Notes, Images to make, Future post ideas, and To do.  I liked these sections because it gave me a place to start.  I was able to focus and plan out what I wanted and what I needed to do.  The very last section is titled "Where to promote."  Lightbulb moment!  If you promote your blog, more people will read your content.  (Like I said, it never occurred to me to plan out my posts, nor to promote my blog at all.  I am a changed woman, though, thanks to this fantastic little planner!)  I searched around and found a couple of interesting linky parties on blogs that I loved...ones that I could contribute to (and my goodness, I sent a lot of time reading!).

Want to know what I liked most about this blog planner?  It is super cute!  And free!  April at The Flourishing Abode shared it because she's just plain awesome!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Let it Rain

Let it rain, let it rain.
Open the floodgates of Heaven
Let it rain, let it rain.
Open the floodgates of Heaven

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad
Let the distance shores rejoice
Clouds and thick darkness surround him
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne
A fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side
His lightning lights up the world
The earth sees and trembles
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord
Before the Lord of all the earth
The Heavens proclaim His righteousness
And all peoples will see His Glory

We want to see Your Glory, God!
Do you want to see His Glory?
Lift your voices, lift your hands!

Let it rain, let it rain.
Open the floodgates of Heaven
Let it rain, let it rain.
Open the floodgates of Heaven

*Let it Rain by Michael W Smith

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Getting back up

As a {homeschooling} momma, I'm used to teaching my kids.  I've taught them the alphabet, how to add numbers, the continents and oceans.  I've taught them how to brush their teeth and how to throw trash in the garbage.  I've spent my life as a parent teaching them.  When that role is flipped, when my kids teach me something, it's neat and exciting and such a blessing.  When they teach me, it's usually a BIG life lesson. 

Cade has been riding horses for about seven or eight months now.  He loves it.  He loves horses.  He loves hugging horses!  His favorite horse, the one he rides most often, is Cochise.  He's comfortable with Cochise; he feels safe on him.  They make a great team.

For a brief period of time, Cade was having to ride other horses.  They all have a different feel to them and Cade's teacher wanted him to experience that.  One day, he was riding Charlie.  Charlie's trot is not smooth like Cochise's.  As a matter of fact, Charlie started to sidestep and stumbled a bit while trotting.  Cade lost his balance and fell.  I watched my baby boy fall off a horse!  My heart stopped.  I held my breath.  Thank God, Cade hopped up and said he was okay.  He was scared, though.  The entire right side of his body was covered in dirt where he fell.  And he was holding his wrist.

Then he did the bravest thing.  He got back up on that horse!  He didn't want to.  But he did, even though he was scared and hurting.  He finished his lesson with Charlie.  He went back the next week and fought through the fear and worry and panic.  I'm proud to say that within a couple of lessons, he was back to trotting.  No panic, no fear.  Just joy!

How many times have I given up out of fear?  How many times have I been hurt or scared and run away?  How many times have I held myself back from something I would love because I'm afraid?  Too many, unfortunately.   I've lost out on too much.  I want to have courage and face my fears.  I want to overcome my hurts. 

We've all heard the old adage, "If at first you don't succeed, dust yourself off and try again."  My son lived it.  And he left a lasting impression on this momma's head and heart!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

She's funny. And sweet. And beautiful.

Three is such a fun age!!  Camden says so many things that crack me up and then she'll turn right around and say something that melts me and leaves in a puddle!  The other day she told me, "Oh, you my princess girl.  Mommy, you my baby!"  See?  Melt, melt, melt!

 "Mommy, I'm growing bigger like an adult. I'm growing taller. I'm going to have boobies like you!"

"Mommy, you a little stink poot!"

**Cade is super funny and sweet, too.  I'll have to write down some of what he says, soon.  It's harder getting pictures of him, though.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Family time traditions

My little family doesn't have too many traditions although I love the idea of them.  I love the idea of my kids being grown and having fond memories of our family.  I love the idea of my kids knowing that their parents loved them desperately and chose to show that love through fun family traditions.

Now, don't get me wrong.  We do fun things with our kids.  After I put Camden to bed, Jeff and I play Super Mario Bros. on the Wii with Cade.  This is Cade's love language!  The boy loves Mario Bros and has such a good time playing the game with us.  I guess that's a kind of tradition.  I've taken Camden to get her fingernails painted a couple of times.  She loves it!   So that's another sort of tradition.  But those aren't exactly what I'm talking about.

I'm thinking more along the lines of a family vacation or outing.  A place or activity that is done regularly.  Through the years.

So anyway, recently we went to Kemah Boardwalk.  It was an amazingly beautiful day.  The sun was shining and it was in the low 70's.  It wasn't too crowded like it can be closer to summer time.  We had such a great day...it was truly a blessing just being there together as a family.  We ate outside, right on the bay, at Cadillac Bar.  We watched the boats go by and saw a couple of feral kitties scrounging for food.  Then we walked around and since it was so warm, we let the kids play in the splash fountains.  Cade mostly stayed out of the water but Camden ended up getting soaked!

We walked over to the Aquarium and went to Stingray Bay so we could pet the stingrays!  Both kids loved it but Cade really loved it.  He told me it was the best day ever which made my heart just sing!  The stingrays would swim by and we would dip our hands in the water to touch them.  They're very smooth and slick feeling.  A few thought we had food so they'd come up out of the water with their mouths open.  It was crazy!  Camden's favorites were the two big, black ones that stayed on the bottom.  They never came up top for us to pet them but she kept an eye on them, calling them the "momma" and "daddy!"

 The rest of the afternoon was spent walking around playing games and winning cheap prizes!  There was a live band playing so we listened to them for a little bit.  They were pretty good.  I wanted to find out who they were but I couldn't find their name anywhere.  We also rode the train and the double decker carousel.

The kids had a blast and so did we.  This is what I'm talking about...a place we all enjoy.  Something we can do as a family and have fun together and make memories!  I think we'll have to start going a couple times a year and make a new family tradition!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Keeping Busy

Homeschooling my big kid has been a little difficult lately.  Besides the fact that he dawdles and sometimes takes forever to get lessons done (which drives me crazy!), I've got my sweet baby girl who wants to do school work, too.  She's a smart little sponge, soaking up everything and she wants to learn.  The problem lies with her wanting to learn while I'm teaching her brother.  I've tried to give her (new) educational toys to play with.  I've tried workbooks.  She always says, "Teach me, Mommy!"  She wants me to teach her the way I'm teaching Cade.

The other day I set up a paint station for her.  It bought me some time.  It also bought me some serious cleaning up! Haha!  She loves painting.  Somehow, it always ends with her finger painting.  Then hand painting.  ;-)

Here's something that kept her busy for awhile: opening a big box!  I ordered a chair and when it came in, Camden wanted to open the box.  She worked for a long time stabbing holes in the box with a pencil and peeling tape.  She finally got it open and pulled the chair out.  I was impressed that she did that all by herself.  She's strong!  It kept her busy and focused.

I'm going to look into preschool curriculum for her pretty soon.  She'll be 4 this summer.  I'm not too big on early schooling--I think kids should learn through play and life, itself--but she's interested in learning.  So something fun is what I want...nothing too formal.  She likes books and she loves hands on projects.  Anything involving paint and glue and cooking is right up her alley.  Any suggestions for me?