About Me

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I am an Air Force wife and mother of three precious gifts from God. I enjoy learning at home with my children, and the many adventures this life sends our way. So stop by often to visit, and check out what the Five Nomads are up to.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Great Wolf Lodge

Looking for a way to beat the winter blues? How about a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge? We recently visited the one down in Williamsburg, VA. What a place. . . These are our very good friends. They were stationed here in DC with us, but have since moved on. They are still on the East Coast, so we make it a point to get together whenever possible.
We scored a Kid's Kamp room this time. Bubby LOVED his bed, who wouldn't? Isn't it just adorable? To think this is just the room and lobby. Sorry I have no photos of the waterpark. We were too busy playing.
If you have never been to a Great Wolf Lodge, think of an indoor waterpark--on steriods! There are water areas for the little tykes, there are wave pools and surf type areas for the big kids. There is the lazy river, that basketball--floaty area great for king of the hill, and of course the water slides. Some are calm, and some are more adventurous. We all love the Howlin' Tornado.
Since we are homeschoolers, we headed down mid week. (The rates are cheaper mid-week, and they also have a military discount.) Usually we are greeted with deserted arenas, not so much this time. It was a Maryland school break, so the place was packed. Even with all of the people, we still received excellent service. Once you made it past the check in line, it was smooth sailing.
When we grew tired of the water, or shall I say when Bubby had worn himself out, we checked out the play/craft room. They had fun crafts--some free and some paid. Mostly Bubby enjoyed playing with all of the blocks and trucks. There was also a game room The General enjoyed (I think it was a bit pricey though). Princess never grew tired of the water!
What a wonderful get away from the cold of winter.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Building Character

That's The General, right in the center. He's just come down court, and is open for a pass. I don't remember what happened next, probably a turnover or missed shot. Sounds rather cruel of me, doesn't it?? Well, this year it is not about the game. It is about being a good sport and trying to have fun, even when it is difficult.
You see the scores of the recent games have been BLOW OUTS, as in 6-48, 3-45, and this last weekend The General's team experienced the win 40-6. How these lopsided feats have come to be in a youth league would take more space and energy than I have for my blog today.
So what do you do when you find your child getting clobbered each week? We've been talking about being a good sport. Find the fun times, and focus on them. Don't make excuses for losing, just work hard and do your best. Celebrate the little victories. I'm so proud, The General has been rising to the occasion. He's growing up.
Let's face it, many times life can feel a lot like this basketball season. When we find ourselves in those seasons, we can still find joy in the little things. Counting our blessings, and focusing on what we have as opposed to what we are missing. Again, I'm humbled by the lessons my children are teaching me.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Getting the kiddos ready for Lent.

Look what we did at our Catholic Homeschool Group.

The Crown of Thorns

A few years ago a friend sent me this project. I am so excited that I finally made the time to do this activity. I've cut and pasted the directions for a Crown of Thorns Centerpiece (from Forty Days of Lent with the Christian Family) from the e-mail I received.

Since next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, I'd like to share the directions with all of you. It is really quite dramatic, and leaves a lasting message with all ages. Use a salt dough ring (see recipe below) and make a large crown of thorns. After mixing and kneading the dough, roll it into three long ropes and loosely braid them (some of the children struggled with the braid, dividing the dough in half and twisting the ropes was easier.) Form the braid into a circle, and place on a round baking sheet. Place toothpicks into the circle in every direction to represent thorns. Twist each one as you place it for easier removal later on. (I found they still baked in, so while the dough was still hot from the oven I pulled the tooth picks out. After the crown cooled I let the kiddos put them back in.) Bake, thorns in place, in a 350 degree oven for one hour or until dry and brown (mine took about 1 1/2 hours, but it could be my oven). After cooling, place the crown of thorns on a piece of purple cloth and in the center of your dining room or kitchen table (wherever you eat each meal).

Take the time to explain to the children each toothpick represents one sin that pierced Jesus during His sacred passion. This very Lent, we can ease a little of the pain Our Lord suffers. Each time we do a good deed (it is good to stress the deed will be a secret between you and Jesus) we may secretly remove one thorn from his crown. Hopefully by the end of Lent, the crown will be free of thorns. Then on Holy Saturday, spray paint the crown gold. Decorate with glued on jewels from the dime store to make the Crown of Glory. The very crown which Jesus earned by His Sorrowful Passion. Remind the children Jesus makes a beautiful thing with our smallest kindnesses and good deeds.

Salt Dough Recipe: Combine 4 cups flour with 1 cup of salt. Mix in enough water to make a stiff clay (more than one cup usually). Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

The Sacrifice Mouse

These are the sacrifice mice. My friend used foamy paper to cut out the tear shaped body, self adhesive googly eyes, a tiny pom-pom for the nose, and more foam cut into little ears. She used rubber cement for the adhesive, I'm sure any crafting glue would work though. Use a hole punch and tie a piece of yarn for the tail. Next glue a small piece of magnet on the back (you can easily recycle an old refrigerator magnet.) Each time your child makes a sacrifice or does a good deed during lent, you tie a knot in the mouse's tail. This is the perfect project for the younger set. The craft was easy to do with just a little adult supervision. Bubby is so excited to have his very own mouse. He loves to be "big" like The General and Princess.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's working, and he is so darn funny!

Isn't it amazing how just putting things in writing can help you gain perspective and feel better? Yesterday after my post, I was such a better mom to Bubby. You know what they say about a happy mommy? Ain't nobody happy if the momma ain't happy! Needless to say my improved attitude did rub off a bit on the boy.

Of course we still had our moments, which leads me to the "he's so darn funny!" My friend K was over with her 3 kiddos, all of whom Bubby loves. They are quite a bit older, so he enjoys getting to play with the big kids. During one of their games, the older kiddos came to let me know Bubby was hurting them (yes, even though he is 6-10 years younger than them, he does hurt them.) Bubby reminds me of that big dopey guy from Of Mice and Men. The one that says, "I'll love 'em and squeeze 'em and hold 'em tight."

Anyway, I take Bubby aside and say, "Were you just playing, or were you trying to be mean?"

He quickly responds, "I was trying to be mean."

At this point K runs into the other room, because the two year old is so stinking funny. Fortunately I have been mothering The General for over 11 years. I've had a lot of practice keeping a straight face in these situations. So I give Bubby his time out and he settles down. After the time out he comes to me to discuss making good choices and apologizes for being mean. We hug and off he runs, but wait. He stops and yells back over his shoulder, "Yeah sorry mommy. I called you a rat when I was in the laundry room."

I thought poor K was going to wet her pants.

That boy is too darn funny.

Gratitude journal for today:

I only need one today.

I'm grateful that my little terror is so cotton pickin' funny.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Time for that gratitude journal.

Do you ever feel flattered by God? When I consider the parenting needs of my two boys, that is exactly how I feel. Sometimes I cannot believe God really thinks I can do this. . .well. However, I know God's wisdom far surpasses mine and if he thinks I am the perfect mommy for these boys, who am I to disagree.
This leads me to my post title. When The General was just about the age of Bubby, he became so incredibly challenging to my brain I wanted to scream (I'm ashamed to say, there were days that I did. Alot.) For example, if I would tell him not to do something he would come back with, "So, what will the consequence for that be." Yes, enunciated perfectly (my kiddos talk early and speak quite clearly when they are young toddlers). I began to dislike him, where had my sweet obedient boy gone? I know that sounds terrible, and I felt tremendous guilt. However, when there is a little person CONSTANTLY pushing your buttons and dancing on your line, it is exhausting.
Enter the gratitude journal. Each night I would sit down and take stock of my day. The first things that would come to mind would be the mud in the guest room carpet. Everyone knows freshly watered plants make the best place for serious construction work. Right?? Well, I challenged myself to go beyond the messes, the frustrations and poor choices (his, and mine). I made myself think back to the good parts of the day. I would list 5 sweet things The General had done that day, it worked. I had been so bogged down by the work of molding this very intelligent, strong willed child I was missing out on the beauty.

Here I am 9 years later with Bubby, and guess what? I need my journal. Last night Bubby informed me, "I don't want to be a nice boy. I want to make bad choices!" My sister-in-law says he can flip you off with a look alone. (No, he doesn't know what that even means, but if he did. . . .) Of course Bubby's issues are completely different than The General, God wouldn't want me to stagnant. I'm going to have to use some new ideas and skills to parent this very hard headed boy. But, I can think back and use some of the coping skills that helped me through my first boy.

So, here goes:

1) I love when he gives me a big hug and tells me, "Your the bestest mommy in the whole world!" and nearly squishes the stuffing out of me in the process.

2) When he says, "Oh, that will make me so much happy!" and gives me the cheesy grin.

3) Everyday when he does his daily business, he has to "push out a big daddy one, just for daddy."--Daddy should feel so honored.

4) The other day when he announced, "my best friend L. Yeah, he's a genius."

5) Most importantly, I am just so grateful that even though he is a challenge, he is healthy. I'm grateful he has the strength and energy to give me a hard time. I'm so grateful he is mine, bad choices, attitude and all.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What kind of flower are you???

Scroll to the bottom of the page and look at the test "What kind of flower are you?" I found this little test on my sister's blog. As you can see I was a snapdragon. I don't know what the other flowers are, or what they signify so I can't say if this is the perfect fit for me. However, I have always loved snapdragons, and I cannot disagree with the statement about snapdragons. :) What kind of flower were you, and do you agree??

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Yummy. . . .

Another bonus to military life: All of the wonderful recipes you encounter.

One of my neighborhood friends was raving about these pickles before the holidays. Since she is a gourmet cook I thought, okay I'll give them a whirl. When I first tasted the pickles alone, without the cracker and cream cheese, they were pretty good. However, when you serve them atop a wheat cracker, with a thin layer of cream cheese. . . .they are heavenly! I crave these pickles, I eat them as a snack, I eat them as a meal, they are so very delicious. Give them a try and let me know what you think.

Here's the recipe:

Take a gallon jar of dill pickles. Drain all of the juice (yes all of it. . .I know I thought I needed to save some, but I was wrong). Slice the pickles into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Put all of the sliced pickles back in the jar. Next add one small jar of tabasco sauce, 4 cups of sugar, and a head of garlic cloves (peeled) to the gallon jar. Store in your refrigarator, shaking the mixture daily to ensure everything is mixing well. Let the flavors mingle for at least 4-6 days, and your pickles are ready. To serve you can either eat the pickles and garlic cloves alone (my friend K likes them best this way, she loves spicy food!) I prefer them served on the wheat cracker with cream cheese. ENJOY!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Good food, good neighbors

One of my favorite things about being in the military are the wonderful friendships we share. Here is a perfect example. One night not too long ago I sent some fresh whipped cream home with one of the neighbor girls. Shortly afterward I received a call from her mom, who is a good friend of mine. She had just made this delicious pie. . .FROM SCRATCH. . .the crust and all!! Would we mind if they came over for dessert, they'll bring the pie! Who in their right mind would turn down an offer as good as that??

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Princess!

Nine years ago we were blessed with Princess.

During my pregnancy I had all of the crazy mom worries before your second child is born. . .will I have enough love and energy for two??? We loved The General to pieces, but it had not been an easy road. My pregnancy with him was difficult (bed rest for 2 months), the delivery was difficult (after 16 hours of labor & 2 hours of pushing, I ended up with a C-section) and his baby days were even more challenging. The poor little guy had terrible colic. For the first 6 weeks of his life, he SCREAMED at us for hours each day. You can see why I was a little worried about starting the baby process again.

During the weeks leading up to delivery, I prepared. My sister came to visit at Christmas that year. While she was with us she cooked up a storm and froze several meals for us. I also did up extra meals. The MOPS group I belonged to volunteered to bring us meals and help out. My sister-in-law was on standby to come stay with us and help with the baby. I had my bases covered, I was ready for another bundle of love--even if that bundle screamed and fussed for weeks.

Then something miraculous happened. My water broke and we went to the hospital. After only 12 hours of labor I was able to deliver Princess v-back. I was so sure she was going to be another boy, that the room was dead silent when they held her up and said, "It's a girl!"

The first thing my husband said, with such a tenderness I tear up today just thinking about it, was, "Oh, my Princess." Which is how she came to be known as Princess. No, we don't call her that exclusively. But when we are home and chatting with her, that is the pet name we use. It is also a nice alias on my blog, as I do think it is wise to protect my children.

On to the rest of the story. . . There was a tense moment when they showed us a true knot in her umbilical cord. Oh, how blessed we are. To know that the outcome could have easily been tragic. We had the Carmelites praying for this pregnancy, what an answered prayer. God is so good.

Now as they were holding her up, she was just quiet. No fussing, just looking at us with a very content look. She was just perfect, ten little fingers, ten little toes, and all of her was so incredibly beautiful. See what I mean?

Well, the content time was not just a passing phase. Princess has just been one of those children that are so easy to parent. Her spirit is soft and kind, and you realize it is not your parenting. She is just good. She generally wants to do the right thing. She doesn't feel the urge to press the limits or constantly challenge. Now, she isn't perfect and we've had our moments as well. Her bedroom gives me fits each day. Overall though she is such a joy. She was the perfect fit for our little family. Each day I am so grateful for the gifts she shares and wonderful lessons I have learned by having this tender hearted girl for my daughter.

As for those worries about having "enough" for two. How silly I was. Princess came home, and it was like she had always been there. Adjusting to The General had been a challenge, but going from one to two children was just seemless for us. What a magical time it was for our family.

I find it interesting how God uses our children to mold us, and gives us just what we need. With my son I needed that hard headed little boy. I needed a tough one who could handle my immaturity and lack of patience. Then with Princess God taught me to be soft and gentle, so as not to damage her tender spirit. Each day I am thankful for this vocation of motherhood, and today I am especially grateful for my little girl. Happy Birthday Princess, your mommy loves you so very much.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love

This was written the week after the inaugeration.

Here I am with my kiddos. The building directly over my head is Independence Hall.

What do you do when the city you live in is about to be overrun with millions of people? You escape to Philadelphia of course. Although I did briefly entertain the thought of taking my kiddos downtown to take in some of the inauguration buzz, my better senses (my husband) took over and we chose to leave town instead. After seeing the crowds and hearing stories of people here in the city attempting to enjoy the concerts and parade, I'm certain we made a very wise decision indeed.

We began our day with mass at the Shrine of Saint John Neumann. John Neumann was an immigrant priest who is known for his early work in the wilderness, and later for organizing the parochial school system. He is best known for his giving spirit and the tireless work he did on behalf of immigrants. The Shrine itself was nothing spectacular, but the experience was wonderful. We were welcomed by the resident priest, who warmly greeted us with his Philly accent. Very cool.

Our next stop was Penn's Landing for lunch. We parked and started looking for a good Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. Here we experienced, "The City of Brotherly Love." As we were looking for a place to eat, I stopped a local and asked about his favorite cheese steak shop. He gave us directions and off we went. A few minutes later, here comes the same guy tracking us down. Apparently his favorite place had closed down, and he didn't want us wondering aimlessly. Wasn't that nice? Oh, yes the Philly Cheese Steaks do taste best in Philadelphia.

Next stop was Independence Hall, the very place George, Tom, Ben and a bunch of other really brave and intelligent men signed the Declaration of Independence. Can you see the chair at the front? To the right of the fireplace? That is where George Washington presided over the Continental Congress. After they were finally able to agree on the Constitution in 1787, Benjamin Franklin said he was glad the sun on the back of Washington's chair was one of a rising sun over our great nation, as opposed to a setting sun.

After our tour, we headed over to Carpenter's Hall. This is actually where all the signers of the Declaration of Independence met, prior to making their bold statement. Unfortunately, they were closed. But Bubby loved walking on the "rocks", which were the cobblestone streets. The rest of us were pondering the fact that our fore fathers had actually walked these very streets. Again, very cool.

No we're not done yet. Cold weather and a cranky two-year-old can't stop us. . . .okay maybe make us a little grumpy, but we will see the sights while we are here!

Our last stop was the Liberty Bell. Not because this momma was giving in to the two-year-old, but because everything was closing. We managed to make it in just in time. Here's a little trivia that I learned. You know how everyone talks about the crack in the Liberty Bell? Well, when you visit the bell you will see this large crack with bolts and think, there's the famous crack. Oh, but here's the scoop. The actual crack they are concerned about is just a hair line fracture, right above the big crack. Apparently the big crack was just a repair job to get the bell ready to ring for the Centennial. It goes to show, you can always learn something new.
**The photo to the left is the repair. Can you see the bolts? The photo below is the one of the hair line crack. It starts between the P & H and goes up to the right through the word AND.

The babies are home!

Here's E chatting it up on the phone at the hospital. She is so cute, even when she is sick!
P & E are home! P is still feeling pretty punky, as you can see by the photo of her on the left. However, E is definitely on the mend. My sister said she is just crazy, running around the house and getting into everything. Thanks for the prayers.

:) Tami

Friday, February 6, 2009

Back in the hospital :(

This is a picture of my neices. They're all twins. The big girls are 8, and the babies are 2 now. My sister was able to carry the chicks (big girls) to term with no complications. It was a whole other story with the chicklets. They were delivered at 24 weeks, weighing in at 1lb. 8 oz. and 1lb. 9oz. They were considered micro-premies, so it was a very long road to get them home from the hospital. They were born in early November, and P. was hospitalized until mid May. E. didn't get to come home from the hospital until the end of July that year. It is truly a miracle we are still blessed with them today.

Here we are over 2 years later. . .many doctor appointments, hospital stays and medical interventions later and they are back in the hospital. This time they both have pneumonia. My heart is going out to my sister, who has traveled such a grueling road these past two years. These are the times being in the military is not so fun. Your family needs you, and you can't just hop in the car and run home. When you live half way across the country it is neither logistically or financially feasible to get back to help.

As I sit here I am reminded of the one thing I can do, PRAY. So I ask you to please join me by adding my sister's family to your prayer list today. May God heal the chicklets little lungs, and give them rest. May He hold the rest of the family close in this difficult time.

Thank you.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

One, two, three, twirl. . . .

How cute is this??? Yes, my sweet Princess is giving her little brother ballet lessons. So if you were to happen by my house you would hear the Turkish Waltz blaring from the piano, with Princess & Bubby twirling to the music. Although I'm certain he may not be so excited about wearing a tutu when he is older, for now he is having the time of his life. In fact he said, "I have the bestest teacher in the whole world."

Okay, here's the funniest part about my beefy little ballerina boy. He had to go potty, so he consulted his teacher. When I ran him in the bathroom he informed me, "Princess said to make sure you lift up the dress first!"

Kiddos are so funny.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Where, oh where have I been. . .

The girl starts a blog, posts a few entries and then. . .silence. I have a good excuse. Remember when I told you about our upcoming move? Well, I sort of did some house hunting on-line. I fell in love with a neighborhood and floor plan, which lead to the hair brained idea to build a house. We've built a home before, and afterward my husband vowed to NEVER do it again. You know what they say about saying never. . . .

So, this is what I've been up to.

This isn't the house I will live in, but it is what my house is going to look like. Only instead of a red front door, ours will match the shutters. I know, no front porch. . .but the kitchen inside makes up for it.

This is the cabinet color, with the granite counter top, the hardwood flooring & carpet we are going to use.

Here are the samples of the cabinet color with the vinyl flooring and counter top with back splash which will be in the kiddos bath & laundry room.

Isn't it going to beautiful? I'm gushing, not because I think I have such wonderful taste or am full of myself. Rather, my sister-in-law was kind enough to fly out to WA with me to do the planning. She is fabulous with decorating and designing. Considering the fact we had only 4 days in WA, with only 1 day at the design center I'm very pleased with the work we accomplished. I couldn't have done it without her.

See I have been busy, and my husband who NEVER wanted to build another house. . . He's just so good to me.