Monday, February 2, 2015


If you couldn't tell by my drama tainted previous post, I struggle with depression pretty badly in the winter.  Actually, all the time.  But winters are the hardest.

The Maryland Board of Education (aka: homeschool) have required me to be a little more creative this year, so we've been doing a lot of "snow" themed art.  You know, the paper plate snowman, the cotton ball snowman, the fingerprint snowman, the marshmallow snowman... for all of our sakes I found this pretty sweet snow paint recipe- mix 1/2 cup of Elmer's glue and 1/2 cup shaving cream and it makes the COOLEST puffy white snow paint.  We added lots of silver and blue glitter to ours, and I printed out 8x10 photos of each of the kids playing in the snow.  They spent a good 30 minutes (which is 30 hours in Jordi-boy time) glopping heaps of "snow" on their pictures, and then (when my back was turned) emptied another tub of glitter on top of the snow for a very very very shiny snowstorm.  Glitter is risky business.

 I'm a big snail mail lover & participater, and a great way to incorporate reading, phonics, handwriting & art in one project is through letter writing.  We attach half a sheet of those dotted line practice sheets to a piece of construction paper, write a short note to a relative or friend, then decorate the top half.  Putting even the tiniest ounce of effort into it gets the kids all excited about it- like printing out some photos of them doing whatever it is they are writing about, or Cricuting (after hearing a very compelling argument proposed by myself and my dear friend, Ben hopped on board the Cricut train and surprised me with one) some shapes to collage or making another one of the gosh forsaken q-tip snowmen... and then putting on the stamp is always a big deal.  Why?  I don't know.  I think b/c it feels a little adult:)  After a couple of weeks of this, things start arriving with THEIR names on them and that is always the coolest thing ever for a kid.  This also gives a little bit of meaning to the endless Spiderman coloring pages and all those dumb snowmen.

Nothing excites the Jordi men (and the little lady) like a cookie or chip.
The following is an excerpt from a yesterday conversation:
Me: "Guess what guys?  Mommy is taking you bowling today!"
Crew: ***Silence.
Me: "They are going to have pizza there."
Crew: ***deafening cheers
This is BOWLING ALLEY PIZZA they are excited about.  And it's free, so you know it's gonna be even worse.  My point is that a $2 box of brownie mix can literally tip the scales from gray day of tantrums and fits to happy day of dancing and snotty kisses!   Another favorite is homemade caramel corn.  Before your opinion of me goes up, it's ridonk-ulously easy.  Just corn syrup, butter, salt, brown sugar and baking soda, air popped corn and about 1 hr in the oven.  Bad for your teeth, but a band-aid for your soul!   We've eaten so badly this winter but treats & chub in excess are necessary to survive winter in the mountains of Maryland.

The last and perhaps favorite winter pastime is the family rave.  My kids have long graduated Wheels on the Bus to Family Force 5 and Skillet and Pillar and Toby Mac and Thousand Foot Krutch and I'm like, totally proud of that.  Pandora for an hour = homeschool gym class.  I quickly ran through teaching the dance moves I knew- The Lawnmower (pull cord to the beat 3-4 times, shuffle forward, repeat) The Shopping Cart (grasp cart, shuffle feet forward, grab can from shelf, place in cart, repeat), The Cabbage Patch (Make fists  push arms outward from chest and rotate in circles), The Egyptian (self explanatory)- so one day I You Tubed "Chainsaw" by Family Force 5 and found a whole 'nother world of kicks and punches and moves I never imagined.  I do recommend previewing before the kids see b/c maybe you aren't cool with TOO much crazy (it WILL wind them up)- but "BZRK" was December's antidepressant, and just the other day we found "Sweep the Leg" (both by FF5) and the kids already know it by heart.  Seriously, even #3 shakes her finger at me and says "uh-uh".   #2 told our playdate the other day he was a "lethal weapon". There is no way you can be sad after one viewing. Seriously.  It's healing and therapeutic and your kids will say things like "you're my favorite mommy!"  I heart that.

What gets you through the winter?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year, New Schmear.

Oh how I love New Years!  Oh how I love lists and lists of promises I’ve made to myself about the incredible human being I will become THIS YEAR!  The Year of Jordi!  (See below.)

2015 has vegetables in it: not your everyday peas and carrots mind you, I’m talking Swiss Chard, Spaghetti Squash, Parsnips, Rutabagas, and all ORGANIC ORGANIC ORGANIC.  Everything will be free range.  Everything will be grass fed.  Processed cheese shan't pass these lips!

Also, there will be EXERCISE.  Not the dusty VHS Billy Blanks Tae Bo video tape I found lodged between my nightstand and wall mind you, I’m talking gorilla-sized lifting equipment, 1,000’s of daily planks and pushups, lots of "metal and brawn", and finally finishing that marathon I started training for 7 years ago.

And guess what else?  There will be MORE BIBLE READING and CHURCH VOLUNTEER ACTIVITES and I’ll probably start a couple things myself because there’s definitely a need for a small group centered around middle aged women who enjoy crochet and coffee and reruns of Forensic Files. (Actually, that's kind of a real thing- minus the reruns.)

I’m also going home school bananas,  but that's 5 posts alone.
These thoughts run through my mind this time of year, every year.  I am not someone who sets the bar low to protect herself from disappointment.  I aim high and over the top, way WAY over the top where no one else can see or hear or anything, in my weird cloud of perfection !!!

But here we are,  through the first week of cray cray and I've already abandoned the majority of promises I made to myself but NOT the anxiety attacks that were sure to accompany them! The high that accompanied the fresh start is gone.  I'm just me again, plodding along in the daily routine of mom- wake up, make food, clean up toys, make more food, clean up more toys, nap time... collapse.  "Find myself" in a drawer full of yarn and hooks and the creation of something I don't need.  Wake up, repeat all that until bedtime.

SO now that I'm here in real time, I guess my resolution is going to be just to keep pressing on.  Anything else seems too difficult right now.  Just 100% maintenance.
  Go Low Bar!
Two thirds of the highest bar I've ever hit!

The other third of that high bar!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


The other day I thought of my Aunt Sharon who has told me multiple times that she reads this blog, and realized the last she'd heard was... July?  Sad.

The general consensus was that after two kids, 3 would be mere child's play... except for one friend- more specifically, her husband.  I still remember his response word for word...
     "Think about it.  Two kids, two of you.  After that, you're out numbered."
"Pish-posh!"  I thought to myself.  I'm a pretty lively gal, I'm up for the challenge.  I've got enough liveliness for our whole family in my little finger.  And then Rowena, sugar-coated and chocolate dipped, was born.  
She is truly intoxicating, she smiles through the grayest, cloudiest thunderstorms, she loves her brothers and desires to be a part of their lives with a passion so intense it knocks over their block towers and bites the heads off of their Thor action figures and shreds their Pooh-Bear paintings.  It's a whooooole lotta love that they are gradually accepting.  She is undeniably the cheese to ALL of our macaroni's.  

Silas is 2, which means every morning brings a different Si.  "Which Si will I meet this morning?" I ask myself, tentatively turning the knob to his room.  Will we meet ill-humored Si, who shrieks at my renditions of "The Good-Morning Song" (truthfully, who wouldn't?) and who has no clue what he wants for breakfast, but it definitely ISN'T what's sitting in front of him?  Or will we be lucky enough to meet lighthearted Si, a giddy and pleasurable experience for all he deems worthy enough to receive such an award?
I exaggerate- while we do get a hot-tempered Si sometimes, mostly he's just a wee version of mommy- in all the best ways, of course!  Case in point: I have this habit of putting many of my mundane tasks to song, and Fall Out Boy has a little number with a chorus that goes like this: 
"Light em' up up up
Light em' up up up
Light em' up up up
I'm on fire"

...except fire is long and drawn out and sounds more like "FI-UUUH!"
This is one of the easiest tunes to adapt to chores of any kind, for example on laundry day:
"Wash em' up up up
Wash em' up up up
I'm on FI-UH!"

or when sweeping up crumbs
"Sweep em' up up up
sweep em' up up up
I'm on FI-UH!"

You get it.  Anyhow, this particular day I was imploring my masses that if they did not finish lunch, they would NOT be receiving an elaborate dessert resembling the head of an owl (that's a homeschool story for another time), so I was chanting "Eat em' up up up, eat em' up up up, eat em' up up up..."
...and from his bench at the table, that little voice interrupts with a shout: 
"I'M ON FI-UH!!!!!"
Just like Fall Out Boy.  Just like Mommy.

(Listen here to compose your own Stay-At-Home-Mom version--->    Fall Out Boy)

Last we have Mr. Eli, rocking Kindergarten homeschool-style.  In 8+ weeks we've studied bees in every way a 5 year old could imagine and STILL were not satiated, did some basic leaf identification, and now we are moving into a winter-long study of Owls. His learning style really works well with a "unit-studies" method of schooling, which simply means that whatever he is currently interested in is what school revolves around.  With bees we read every book our library had on them, we made snacks with honey, we did math with little card stock manipulatives of honeybees, we did mini-productions of "The Life Cycle of the HoneyBee" complete with costumes (you can see the bumblebee hat on his head in the above picture of Si), we rented PBS documentaries, and one night I got REALLY nuts and crocheted several little honeybee stuffed toys as well as eggs, larva, and pupa, hot glued a paper egg carton to some foam board (for honeycomb of course, duh!), and had a "Life Cycle of the Bee" playset which garnered much attention from my 3 biggest fans.  As I mentioned, owls are the next unit study and 2 weeks ago I found myself hunched over the kitchen table on a breezy fall afternoon punching this out:

You may rightly be wondering "what the WHAT are those?"  Those are lima beans, 30-to be exact, spray painted brown bearing hand-painted eyes & beaks and hot glued feathers (a.k.a. wings).  Those are: Math Manipulatives.
(Below: a close up of a low point in my legendary existence)

I blame this on Pinterest, always forcing me one craft closer to insanity.

Outside of school Eli has taken on the role of Director of Playtime in this house (Thank God, b/c I am all out of Green Lantern plot twists).  He is the Event Planner for the best soiree's at the Batcave (spoiler alert: they all end in someone falling off a building and going to jail), his sofa cushion forts are well crafted and comfortable, his tastes in reading material are flawless ("There's a Wocket in my Pocket" never gets old), and don't even get me started on his bicycle stunts- Evel Knievel had nothing on him.  

And that's where we are right now... I'm off to get "ruffle-butt" up from her nap, a term I used ONCE to describe a certain little girl's regular attire, and adapted by #2 as a regular term of endearment (I think...)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Flo-Rida & birthday parties.

School ended and we flew headfirst into summer with a 13 hour drive to Yulee, Florida to see Nana & Pop pop.  Scorching heat and bath water ocean temperatures pretty much sum up a June-Florida, but we kept cool with swim suits and lots of ice cream.  Eli developed a pretty strong bond with Pop pop, which was sweet for us all to witness:)

Nana & Pop pop put in quite a few hours of prep-work before we arrived, decorating wooden swords & shields, "tenting" the bedroom, making cookie sheets full of buck-eyes & a pretzel-caramel- combination-cookie-bar that I fell hard for (and consumed largely alone).  It was a really special week for us all!

#3 had the best time modeling the outfits in Mom's closet-sized T.J. Maxx.  What a cutie!

The day before we left, we celebrated the boys birthdays (5 & 2!)  This was the first year I've ever done anything other than a small family gathering, and we had a pretty great time.

The big birthday wish was for a "Flash" costume, which of course Grammie & Grampa came through on!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A last look

We recently arrived home from a 24 hour round trip to Groton Vermont, to be present for my Grammie's burial.  Grammie passed away Dec 26, 2013, but in VT the ground stays frozen until May, so the burial was postponed.
Grandpa passed away in February of the same year.  I haven't said much about it.  I've thought through everything very slowly and in pieces.

My extended family has a beautiful sense of harmony.  I've never met anyone with the humor we share or the memories we've created- even though we see each other sometimes less than annually.  We are spread out through Canada, down into Vermont, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia... yet each time we meet we still manage to pick up right where we left off.

Dad & his brothers & sister grew up in the same house Grammie & Grampa left- full of memories. We spent Christmases and summers there, making our own.
Ben and I packed up the kids and drove up with my parents to a family member's camp, where we spent 3 days revisiting the places I loved as a child.

Eli on Grammie & Grampa's porch.

Si on the porch.

Rowen meeting Uncle David.

Si @ the burial.

Jordi's @ Grammie & Grampa's house.

Eating @ P&H, the #3 truck stop in the States, and the home of Grammie's famous Reese pie.

Napping in the cabin.

NOT napping in the cabin!

The backyard...

...and the front.

Groton, VT-where Dad grew up.

The church Dad grew up at, and we attended on vacations.

Ricker's pond- where Dad swam as a kid, and we did the same:)

Our swimming hole.

Dad & the boys hunting for moose antlers.

A HUGE shoutout to Ben, who drove me around in the rain to take pictures of all the places I remembered, AND who got me inside of the old church for a walk through.  AND who spent $20 on candy at Chutters candy store:)  He really is the best guy ever.

So we're home now, remember Grammie & Grampa with love and thanks for the legacy of Jesus & family they left behind.

School ends in a few short days, and then begins a super fun summer- kicked off with a DOUBLE birthday party and a trip to Florida!!