The meaning behind Firefly!

Firefly is a nickname given to me by my husband. I was attending Girl Scout camp with my daughter, Makayla, and was in need of a camp name. He came up with Firefly because he said I lit up a room every time I smiled. It stuck...Firefly...that's me!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Favorite Blog

I just wanted to make mention here of a favorite blog of mine. A Joyful Chaos is so enjoyable to read. It celebrates the memories of an Amish childhood, in part, as well as raising a family of her own after having left the Amish life. I find her writing so enjoyable. She has a way of making you feel like you could have been a part of the events she writes about.
My mom turned me on to reading about the Amish. We have read many books by Beverly Lewis, who I have had the pleasure of meeting. I have often said that I admire the simplicity of life and faith that go along with being Amish. I have even implemented technology free weeks in an effort to bring some simplicity and focus to my own family. I always wish we could make that time last a little longer but it seems that we are too technology driven these days to stay away forever. I think I could make it happen with training but with four children that are used to having computer access, television and video games, it would take immense planning and reprogramming. Maybe I'll start with a tech-free day each week. That definitely sounds do-able. I'll keep you posted. But until then, if you would like a relaxing and enjoyable read, check out A Joyful Chaos!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Date With My Littlest Guy

Saturday started out as normal as most any other but I knew to expect it to be a busy one since my 4 year old was starting his new gymnastics class, which means overcoming shyness, and my husband was going to be home most of the morning dealing with our mechanic and car repairs. So I took my baby girl, whose 18 months old, to her Parent and Tot gymnastics class and boy does she love it! She's so adorable in her little outfits and her coach, Mrs. Sheila, calls her Twinkle Toes on the balance beam. She loves to hang and swing from the bars, too. But her favorite move is doing front rolls. Anywhere. On the mats, beam, floor...she loves doing front rolls. As soon as I hold my hands at her waist she bends and puts her head on the floor and over she goes with a huge smile on her face! I love having this time with her. There may be four or five other little ones with their mommies and daddies in the class but we just love our time together. She scoots around the mats and loves to try to chase the big kids. She isn't even walking independently yet but she did take four or five independent steps in gym yesterday while attempting to catch the bigger kids. Mind you, the bigger kids are all either 2 or 3. She is the youngest, by far. Her older brother and sister, Shawn and Makayla, came to watch her today. They couldn't believe how well she bounced on the trampoline or did her front rolls over the barrell and how adorable she is doing it. After her class was over, we all headed back home so I could drop these three children off and pick up my little man that was waiting on his new class. Fortunately, Dad had him ready to go because it took every minute of driving back and forth to get back to his class after hers ended. We got there with a few minutes to spare and I began the ritual of talking him into being prepared to go out there...on his own. Ok, so that didn't happen. He is very, very...I do mean very, shy! We already had it arranged for me to be able to accompany him to his first couple of classes until he got used to being there and got to know his coach, Ms. Renee. As soon as we went through the door, he glued to my leg and anchored himself. His coach was trying to introduce herself to him but he would have none of it. I couldn't even find him, he was so glued to me. She tried to get him to stretch and do warm ups but he just wouldn't come out of his shell, so she offered to let him start out on the trampoline which is always a big kid favorite. It took a minute or two to get him to go the length of the trampoline without holding on to me but finally he did. Then I would race him down the trampoline or make it a game that until he did the "right" move I couldn't move. It turned out to be a lot of fun for both of us. He started to really warm up. He moved on to the balance beams where he was doing the bunny hops, bear crawls (which scared him a little), sideways walks and a few other tricks like he had been doing them for a while. When it came to bars he has amazing upper body strength. He walked right up to a bar that's set at about 4 ft., just over his head, and lifts his entire body up by his arms until the bar is at his waist with his elbows straight. He then proceeds to flip over the bar. He loves doing this! After straddle jumping onto the kiddie vault he does a front hand spring onto the mats after jumping down from the vault. He has arrived! He is now running around and performing amazing feats of gymnastics right along with the best of the four year olds! He even went up to his coach at one point and told her he thought she was nice and shared the most priveleged of information about the origin of his latest boo-boo. It may not take as long as I thought to get him to attend his class on his own.
Since he did so well in his class, I took him to his favorite restaurant afterwards for lunch...SdlanodcM! Ok, for the rest of the world that's McDonald's. Years ago we started saying it backwards because it is impossible to discuss the possiblility of going there with little ears all around. If they hear about it, it's a done deal. Now we've just become accustomed to calling it SdlanodcM...we pronounce it like this...Saddle-on-da-Mac. Got that...LOL! So he, of course, got his favorite meal...a chicken nugget happy meal. Now for all you McD's workers out there, there is a cardinal NO-NO! Don't ever give a little boy a girl toy! Especially when it's a case of ICarly vs. Star Wars. So back the girly thing went for a Jedi Starfighter that we got to shoot across the table at each other. Ordinarily playing with your toy before eating your meal would be out of the question but I figured since this is the only time in his life that it's truly only been the two of us alone together, why not! The only other time that happened was when I was pregnant with baby sissy. After playing with the toy for a bit we finished eating and naturally he wanted to play in their PlayLand. I told him he could have 15 minutes since we still needed to pick up a few groceries before heading home. He took to the PlayLand like a pro and I can remember a day not so many years ago that we couldn't even get him to do that. But all I could help thinking on this day was, how much of a playland could this be? The boy just left a gym full of major gymnastic apparatus...Hello! Going up a tunnell and down a slide seemed to pale in comparison. But he loved getting to do it none the less. Well, his first trip down the slide with an exuberant, "WEEEE!" came with a splash down at the bottom, literally!!! His words as he climbed off the end of the slide were, "My butts wet!" But did that stop him from attacking the climbing contraption again and again, no way. So we put a towel in his car seat and headed for Walmart since grocery shopping now involved buying dry shorts :) He waddled with grace as we entered the store. We were able to grab the few items we needed on our way to the boys section where he picked out what he considered to be the perfect outfit. We made our way to check out and decided to change him in the van since I couldn't leave my purchases outside the bathroom at that point. He got all decked out in his new clothes and climbed into his seat for the ride home where he pronounced the next best words to hearing your little one tell you they love you. He said, "Mom, I had fun with you today! It was a good date." Awwwwwww! My little man. I love him so much and wish I could keep them little for just a while longer. Enjoy every minute with your babies, they grow so fast!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Off to a Great Start

This year has started off wonderfully! I've been having more fun and enjoying more time with my husband and children than in the past. It's not that I didn't spend time with them before but I have been making deliberate attempts to incorporate fun and relaxation into our time together versus being a stickler about every little thing. We took a huge breather in the way of homeschooling which allowed me to refocus and reevaluate our efforts and gave the kids a little room to breathe and reenergize before coming back together in the way of "schooling". It's not that we were doing nothing during this short break. We're only talking about three weeks. We decided to study photography for a couple of weeks and spent some time in what could be considered Guidance Counseling; getting a handle on what it is the kids are interested in doing at this stage and where they see their education taking them. They are both college minded individuals and are focused on dual enrollment at Florida State College at the appropriate time. While it is exciting to have these goals in their all-to-rapidly-approaching futures, I still have to focus on our newest entry into the world of academic education. I am taking things slowly with him. He's enjoying hearing stories and coloring pictures right now but that's about it. I figure since he's only four, he has time to get everything thrown at him later.
Another thing that I have made a point of doing this year is taking time to do things for myself. That pretty much started with Valentines Day when I insisted that my wonderful hubby and I share some quality time alone on a date...with NO kids. Unbelievable. We had an amazing time. Now I'm looking forward to our next date night, although, I'm not sure when that will be. I also took some time to go out to dinner with my favorite cousin/best friend which was a blast. After that we decided to plan a few things together. Since she is starting out in the world of homeschooling we are going to attend a Charlotte Mason conference together and get some great ideas for our little ones. Then we are planning to have a day at the spa together which I can't wait for either. Now, we've decided to schedule activities and events each month to get our children together, incorporate some educational moments and just plain have fun with our kids! We had our first celebration together with the kids last weekend for Valentines Day where I planned a big party complete with a treasure hunt. All of the kids had so much fun! We are looking forward to our next get together for St. Patrick's Day.
Everything just seems to be falling into place for me (and my family)lately! Either I've gotten the hang of dealing with an ornary teenage boy,a precocious pre-teen girl, a rambunctious pre-schooler and a tentative toddler, or I've stopped over analyzing things as much as I have in the past and come to accept that we are who we are. I think keeping this blog has helped me express some of what I go through and deal with and allows me to "get it out" rather than wallow in frustration.
Financial peace has been a prayer for our family for quite some time now. I'm feeling pretty relaxed in this area to. I'm so proud of my amazing husband for his work ethic and his desire to provide for our family in the best way that he can. No matter how frustrated he gets with work he still gets up every day and tolerates working in the extremes of weather to ensure that our family is taken care of. He is the most supportive man when it comes to me being a stay-at-homeschooling Mom! I could not ask for a better man to be a husband to me and a father to our children. He sets such an amazing example to them of the kind of man they should be or the kind of man to marry. He is humble and gentle, loving and kind and extremely devoted to our family. He strives to be the kind of father to our children that they deserve and that he felt he lacked growing up.
So, one long blog later...I've been counting my blessings and I'm pleased to say that there are many!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Valentine's Day

First of all...OMG! What an awesome, incredible, amazingly wonderful date we had! It's been five years since Chris and I reunited and this is the most time I think we have ever spent totally focused on one another. We've been so busy raising our four children that we haven't had much time for anything else. While we know the practical advise is to make a date night to keep things strong in your relationship, we either don't have the time (I know we are supposed to make that, too) or we don't have the money (we are raising four kids) or we haven't really had a sitter. Well, we were finally fortunate enough to have the money which allowed us to feel comfortable with going out and leaving our children (yep all four of them) with a sitter. While my dearest friend in the world, that'd be Angie, of course doesn't ever expect payment for watching our children, how can I possibly leave her with her two children and my four and expect her not to inherit a few gray hairs before the night is over. So, hopefully she enjoys the spa after this venture with all six of our children combined. Anyway, back to our date! Did I mention the word AWESOME?! We dropped the kids off at Angie's which was also a huge help for us since we have been in the midst of installing new appliances, craigslisting old appliances, installing new bedroom doors and installing a new toilet... okay so you can imagine our house right now. CHAOS on top of the normal CHAOS!!! Anyway, after leaving Angie and Gene's (that's her husband) house we headed straight for The Melting Pot. I had been to a MP once while in college at UF in Gainesville but that was many, okay, many years ago. Chris had never been before. After a brief wait and a refresher course on the workings of this fine restaurant we dug in and boy was it DE-LIC-IOUS!!! We had some incredible conversation that we had really been missing and some very touching and sweet moments of hugs and kisses which for the most part had turned into fly bys when dealing with all four kids on a 24-7 basis. After two hours we finished the unbelievable dinner and dessert and spent another two hours enjoying our time alone with one another. We even got to swing by Starbucks for some hot chocolate before retrieving the kids. We hated to see the date end but we can only stay away from our kids for so long or leave them with a sitter (even Angie) without worrying about the sitter's remaining sanity and nerves. Fortunately, all seemed to go well with the kids at Angie and Gene's, not that I was ever concerned about that. That was one of the greatest blessings of the night; knowing that the kids were completely taken care of, being kept safe and loved by the people they were left with. How much more can you ask for on Valentine's Day? Oh...and, we exchanged gifts while at the restaurant and how funny is this...we both split up in the mall and were finally excited to be buying each other gifts neither of us could guess or would know about up front. Usually we forego the gifts for each other to get things for the kids but not this year. I guess once every five years is acceptable :D He got me: two pair of earrings and a journal with a bookmark. I got him two pair of earrings and a journal with a bookmark...okay, do we know each other or what? What better time of year to know that you are truly compatable than Valentine's Day?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Change of Plans...Again

Ok, so we have once again made changes to our homeschooling routine, starting with curriculum. We are going to finish up this school any means necessary at this point. Then, next school year, the older children will be taking courses through Florida Virtual School. They are each taking one course now which they seem to be enjoying and working quite quickly through. The major benefit to this is that it is free and it allows me to focus my attention on the younger children. I am attending a Charlotte Mason seminar in March to see if this is the route I would like to take with the younger children. I'm looking forward to learning more about the CM approach. We'll see how it goes. The key to homeschooling is flexibility. If the kids warrant a change in curriculum or structure then so be it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Unit Studies

I've decided to change things up a bit in our homeschooling, at least for the remainder of this school year. We'be been bogged down lately and everyone has gotten frustrated, I think. So, we are working on unit studies right now. Our first study is on Photography. The kids seem to be enjoying what they have done so far, especially since they have the opportunity to take some neat pictures along the way. I don't think we are going to do this next year, however. The more I think about it and look into what is needed to be ready for college, the more I believe that in high school Shawn needs more structure than what the unit studies seem to provide. So, we've decided to use Switched on Schoolhouse for next years curriculum. We used this years ago when they were younger and both in elementary school but it didn't quite feel right for them at that time. What's changed, you might wonder? Well, for one thing I have two more children, and little ones at that, to take care of. SOS does all of the planning and grading for me which I could use at this point. Also, it makes it really easy to prepare high school transcripts. Shawn will also be taking his first elective...Spanish I. I'm so excited for him! We are all looking forward to learning a little Spanish. He really wants to learn Japanese but he needs to get an easier foreign language under his belt first, the principal (a.k.a. dad) and I have decided. I'm glad that the cost is a little more manageable than Bob Jones, as well. I really think this will work out better for all of us, but we may need to look into getting a backup computer. The other good thing is that Makayla can go right into his curriculum in two years so no need to buy new workbooks or anything like that. I'm already for this year to be over and next year to begin :) I may keep doing unit studies next year as well as the computerized curriculum because I think it can only add to a well rounded education. We'll see!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Ok, I've decided to start something new called Things I Love Thursday! Hopefully this will work as sort of a gratitude list as well and will grow and grow over time.

1. Love that I just printed out four tickets to Disney! Can't wait to take the fam!

2. Having fun times with my family. Right now everyone is doing there own thing and getting along and just plain having a good time right now.

3. Having a random day where my husband happens to be home. Ok, so his car wouldn't start this morning which is what makes it random but I'll deal with the car not starting later...LOL.

4. Listening to my husband wash dishes while I'm blogging...LOVE IT!!!

5. Knowing my kids always have someone else to play with since there are four of them. They always have a partner to play a video game (Shawn and Chris right now), watch a movie, play school (that's what Makayla and Phalyn are doing now) or just be alone to explore the house (that's Morgana).

6. Realizing that just listing all of this and hearing my content family around me brings a smile to my face!!!

There is a lot more of today still to go so I'm sure I'll add some more things I love later in the day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Homeschool Reboot

I've been so frustrated lately! My older kids have some sort of lazyitis when it comes to doing their school work, chores, etc. Of course, they would never miss playing video games, checking their internet accounts, socializing with friends and that sort of thing. So...I've decided that our homeschool needs a reboot. Starting next Monday I am going to focus on smaller doses of schooling with slightly shorter lessons and build back up to full swing. I think we just came out of the gate too fast after the holidays. They seem to be in a bit of shock. Shock that they are expected to do things again. After two weeks off and all of the celebrating it's hard to get their attention back to everyday life and the routines of things. Wish me luck!

My Goals for the New Year: A 2010 Bucket List

Ok, so it's 13 days into 2010 and I haven't really established any goals yet. Here goes...
1. To lose about 40 pounds before June when we go on vacay!
2. To study learn something new. Take courses on-line at for one.
3. To bring back the excitement of home schooling after so many years. To encorporate more field trips in the coming year.
4. To read the Bible completely...again and to really study it.
5. To blog daily, even if I have very little to say.
6. To completely organize and declutter my small feat!
7. To create a working cleaning schedule. One that involves everyone living in our house of age enough to assist!!!
8. To create more financial peace and freedom.
9. To get back to church more. I make sure that the older kids get there three days a week but since the younger ones have had such a hard time adjusting we haven't been staying with them. Maybe we can change that this year.
10. To spend more time with family and friends that I haven't spent so much time with over the past years due to growing families and such.
11. To establish a date night.
12. To locate "ME" time!

That's it for now. If I come up with more then I'll be sure to add them. Wish me luck!


Ok, so I lost track of blogging my schedule the other day but I can tell you that once the hubby comes home it is hard to get much done. We ended up busy with all sorts of things and that was the end of my productive day beyond cooking dinner for the family.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday - second update

2:00 - started 3rd load of laundry washing and started folding and putting away my 4th load. Got a tired, hold-me baby that doesn't want to nap.

2:20 - Helped Makayla with her English report on Italy and broke the boys roughhousing up >:(

2:40 - Preschool time. Helped Phalyn work on his cutting skills. In between helping the kids with their work, I continued to clean, declutter, sort and arrange the two large bookshelves in the den. Still got a lot of work to do in that area.

3:00 - Gana is finally down for a nap. Hopefully she can sleep uninterrupted for a while. Never mind that! As soon as I laid her down she woke up.

Thursday - first update

I've been keeping a running list of pretty much everything that's been going on here goes!

At 8:40 I got Phalyn a Pop Tart and put a sleeping Morgana in her crib. Well that didn't last long! I barely had enough time to get my contacts in before she was awake and crying to get out. So I fed the little kids breakfast and got a little something for myself. We are usually kind of scattered in the morning with breakfast since everyone wakes up at different times. I decided to have a Green Tea and a Special K bar. Not bad, only 100 calories so far today! I fed the dog and cat, too. Got Phalyn started on his preschool computer programs.

9:00 - Put first load of laundry on to wash and decided to take before pics of my messy house, or most of it anyway. After taking pics I cleaned the dining room since that was the easiest to get accomplished. 15 minutes later and I was finished sweeping, clearing and cleaning the table. That meant there was plenty of room to fold and sort the three baskets of laundry I had been putting off. UGH!
9:15 - Shawn and Makayla are finally awake. So I ran off to get dressed for the day. As soon as I got fully dressed I hear my baby girl, Morgana, crying frantically so I call out to the older kids to check on her while I'm racing down the hall buttoning my buttons with a shoe still untied. She was standing at the dining room table and fell backwards down a little step and landed on her face :*( I scooped her up and got her changed and dry in just enough time for my 4 year old and 14 year old to get into it over playing the PS2....major UGH! After I got them somewhat calmed down and repeated myself probably 15 times that it wasn't getting turned on this morning, I think they sort of got it.

9:35 - Working on folding my 2nd basket of laundry.

9:50 - Introduced kids to Homeschool Advantage on the computer and they both (Shawn and Makayla) really liked it and completed all activities for today plus some. Got Shawn to play with Morgana to distract her from wanting to be carried all day after her little fall. It worked!

10:00 - Called Mom to chat and walk. Commonly referred to as "my aerobics". I probably walk miles and miles every week just by walking and cleaning while talking on the phone. Usually I am walking to find quiet places to be able to talk and to get away from kids that always seem to have a million questions as soon as I get on the phone. I started washing my 2nd load of laundry and finished folding my 3rd basket...all while talking on the phone :)

10:39 - I hung up with Mom and began putting all of the clothes that now filled my table away. I took a little break to take pictures of my cuties playing. While putting the little kids clothes away I managed to clean their room.

10:50 - Cleaned the living room.

11:15 - Began work on the "den".

11:20 - Got the kids started decorating their placemats and took pictures of those too. Phalyn drew a very accurate picture of Poppy, with just one arm, on his plate. Makayla's (or Mickey) was all about celebraties and peace. Shawn's was all about Yu-gi-oh (and a quote from Jeff Dunhem's "Achmed"). Morgana's was all about being 16 months old!

11:45 - Break to prepare lunches. This is probably where most of my down time starts. I snacked on Gana's (that's Morgana's nickname) vienna sausage (100 calories) and now I'm waiting on my yummy potpie (that'll be 640 calories). Now I'll get to enjoy some computer time until lunch is ready.

12:45 - Time to eat finally! Guess I should have started making it earlier. Everyone else is done eating and enjoying some game playing time.
1:15 - Done eating and blogging. Kids are getting started on school. So I'm off until this evening when I post some more. Pretty productive day so far, I think. Ok, I got stuck blogging a little longer than I planned but I also got Makayla started on her research report, Phalyn settled with a movie and Shawn started on his Science.
2:00 - Started 3rd load of laundry washing and working on folding my 4th load.

What I'm Up to In a Week

I decided to keep a running log of what I actually do throughout the course of a week. Being a stay-at-home mom I often get that my house should be very clean and that I should have plenty of time to myself, however, that seldom is or seems the case. That's why I have decided to keep a running log of my daily activities. So here's what I've been up to so far today...well, actually, let me start with the fact that for some crazy reason my baby girl is a night owl and didn't go to sleep before midnight last night and I in turn couldn't sleep. I ended up going to bed around 1:30 am but proceeded to read until 2:00 am. Now on to today's schedule of activities.

6:00 am - baby girl woke up and wanted to leave the bed which forces me to get up since our bed is elevated and it scares me to think of her falling off if I fall back asleep...yes, she's a cosleeper and by then our 4 year old son will have climbed in with us, as well....all in a queen size bed ;) Now since I was up...I decided to jump on the computer and check email, facebook, the usual, which lead to doing some research on homeschooling ideas and resources. Before I knew it, it was 8:00 am and baby girl was now asleep on the couch beside me.

8:15 am - Phalyn, my 4 year old son, wakes up. Now he insists on moving to the couch with a blankie and pillow after he visits the bathroom and gets himself dressed but he won't leave the bedroom until I go and get him. He's a funny sort of guy. He has his own way of doing things, that's for sure. It'll take him a bit to warm up to the day, usually does, but by the time his older brother and sister wake up he'll be raring to go. He's just asked for breakfast which happens to be a poptart this morning (his fave). But he's also announced that he doesn't like the new flavored water and would prefer milk in his sippy cup that we are trying to break him from. I guess in a since it's mission accomplished because we have been wanting him to drink more milk and he's already asking for milk on day two! Yeah, me! I'll take my successes where I can get them.

I'll keep track of everything that goes on today and post more later today when I locate that ever elusive free time...I know it's there somewhere but I really need to see it in black and white...LOL