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!

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.