Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Breaking Up With Coke!

This girl...

I guess one of my dirty little secrets is that I love Coke!  (The beverage...people!)  I love it - I think about it every day, I live to drink it.  When I was in my early 20s, I drank about 4 liters of Diet Coke/day (not joking).

My dad once said:  Who needs water when you've got Diet Pepsi?  ;-)  So, clearly, I got my pop addiction from my Pop.  ;-)

Anyway - as some of you know - I have not had aspartame (or any artificial sweetener) since 2005.  But when I quit Diet Coke for good, I switched to regular.  And I don't discriminate - I love the bottle, the can, the fountain, and the Mexican....  

And many times I have tried to quit - and I have for awhile.  But it's never stuck.  I am literally physically and psychologically addicted.  I don't want tea.  I don't want a glass of wine. I just want a Coke!

I've heard Coke called The Black Death and Liquid Poison and even Sewer Water (that's Mr. M's special name for it)...but do you know what I call it?  Yummy!

Anyhoo- Mr. M and I have a little bet going that I can't quit Coke for a YEAR.  A year?!!!  I am on Day 6 (last Friday was Day 1).  359 DAYS TO GO!  

I'm lethargic, my head is pounding, and if I close my eyes, I can imagine everything about it.  But then I open my eyes and poof!  it's not real.

To perk myself up, I've been making Green Juice.  I was saving the fruit for the girls, so this is just veggies and it tastes like bark.  I wanted to pour a packet of sugar into this afterwards (but I didn't).  Do you know what would go really well with this?  That's right...a Coke!  ;-)


This is Paprika yesterday at Swim Team Practice.

Swim team practice...

While she was at practice, the little girls and I explored the park.  First the butterfly garden:


Then down to the pond:


Violet wanted to jump into the water to pet these ducks:


These girls ran me all over the park and I literally wanted to find a vending machine and chug a Coke.  But I did not!  Little victories!  ;-)


Tuesday, July 30, 2013



Friday night the big girls (Ginger and Paprika) had a little slumber party. They stayed up ALL night, I think! ;-) Okay, well probably just until 3am! They read books, sang songs, and snuggled together in Paprika's top bunk. I could hear their conversation through the door - it was so precious. At about 2am, I decided that some sleep was in order. I had a library copy of Swan Lake by Maestro Classics, so I put that on and they eventually fell asleep listening to it (even though I think Paprika chatted through the whole thing!)


When they woke up the next morning, they said it was the BEST night ever! Ha!


Saturday night...DATE NIGHT = GREAT NIGHT!

Mr. M and I went down to the beach at sunset and went for a long walk.  I never get tired of that!  Afterwards, we went for Thai Food and I ordered TWO Thai Iced Teas. Living on the edge!  ;-)


There was hardly anyone at the beach - I love how calm and peaceful it is after everyone goes home for the day!  :-)


Little tickle-fest with Baby Violet.  She is so much fun at this age - exhausting (yes!) - but so much fun!


One of my favorite sights - her napping!  Haha.  I love to sit next to her and watch her sleep.  Never gets old...


On Sunday, Mr. M had to work and Paprika wanted to go with him - just like last week.  So, she got to go - and she watched him edit the show (the appropriate parts), and even got to help choose music cues.  Does it get any better than that?!  The only downside was that they didn't get home until about 2am on Monday morning, so Paprika was a little tired on Monday.  But she was fine - she had piano lessons and did great.  I don't know how she gets her energy!


Monday we spent the afternoon at the park.  Ginger was my sidekick and stayed by my side the whole time.  Violet ran everywhere (the park is totally fenced, thank goodness).  The whole time, I was counting children:  1, 2, 3.  Check!  1, 2, 3.  Check!


Paprika made lots of sandcastles and moats.  She transported water on her head like this (I had to giggle):


And that's what we've been up to lately!

Dancing in the sunshine...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sweet Ginger!

Beach day with the birthday girl! :-)

One of the questions I've been getting most often since I announced we are pulling Paprika out of public school in the Fall and homeschooling her is whether or not we'll also homeschool Ginger (and then Violet!)

The short answer is:  Yes, we will most likely homeschool them all IF they want to be homeschooled!

I have no idea what things will look like a year or two from now - let alone five years from now!  So, I just can't say that we will homeschool forever - but so far, things are looking like that's what's going to happen.

Before we made this decision, I had enrolled Ginger in preschool for the Fall.  It's a great preschool (the same one Paprika attended) and we were very lucky to get a spot!  But the more I talked to Ginger about it, the more I realized that she does not want to all.  Plus, it's a co-op, so I would have to find someone to babysit Paprika and Violet while I had my weekly work-day.  Plus, it would also mean we'd lose almost all the flexibility to our schedule that homeschooling allows us.  Homeschooling is a big plus for us, given Mr. M's unconventional work schedule.

Anyhoo- with all that in mind, I've decided to start Ginger (who just turned 4) in homeschooling Kindergarten this Fall.  She is MORE than ready to do kindergarten work - so it makes sense.  We are all very excited about this (most of all Ginger!)


Teaching Ginger is about the exact opposite of teaching Paprika!  Their learning styles and interests are polar opposite!

Ginger loves math and numbers.  She can read well, although she'd never tell you that.  She loves computer games that involve spatial understanding and complex thinking.  She builds amazing worlds in Minecraft and can complete advanced problem solving in Portal.

Dancing girl...

She knows how to add, subtract, and multiply.  I have a cd that I've played a few times in the car about multiplication (Multiplication Mountain by Hap Palmer).  I bought it to help Paprika learn her multiplication tables.  Anyway - Ginger always protests greatly when I play that cd.  ;-)

But then after only playing it about two or three times, we were waiting around in the parking lot of piano lessons...and I noticed I had a bunch of change in the cupholder.  So, I offered whoever could answer my multiplication problems first a penny for every one they got right.

Ginger, with a twinkle in her eye, yelled out every single multiplication answer a split second after I asked the question (she was 3 years old at the time).  I went through probably 30 questions before Paprika started crying and asked us to stop!  I felt horrible about that.  (Later I took Paprika aside in private and we played the game just the two of us - so it ended up being fine).


Ginger is very reserved and private.  She is incredibly head-strong and has an iron will.  Seriously, an IRON WILL.  If she doesn't want to do something, you cannot make her do it.  No bribe or incentive or punishment will work - she has to decide to do something for herself.  And then once she decides, watch out because nothing can stop her!  ;-)

On the other side, she is fiercely loyal and tender.  She cares about people and animals deeply.  She remembers everything.  She appears very strong on the outside and will defend herself and others from outsiders, but she is quite sensitive and does not take any criticism well.

It takes awhile to gain her trust, but once you have gained her trust, she will fight to the end of time for you.


I have wanted to start Ginger in piano lessons, swimming, gymnastics...a whole host of things.  But bottom line, she will not learn from someone she doesn't trust!

In fact, her learning style is to figure out something on her own and then show you once she has perfected it.  She does not like to show weakness, and she is quite the perfectionist.

She learns quickly and then will test the wrong answers just for fun.  ;-)  Whenever we do reading or math games together on the iPad, she will look at me and say:  Well, we already know what the right answer is...what do you think will happen if we choose the wrong one?  That looks like more fun!


So, all this leads me to why we are going to start homeschooling Ginger.  She has made it abundantly clear time and time again that she needs to trust her teacher completely  - and she needs to have the room to explore and learn on her own.

We're working on reading, math, writing, and Spanish - and also I am going to throw in a few extra topics like computer programming and chess...just because I think she would LOVE that!  :-)

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose...

The End!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Oh What A Week! Part Two!

***This is Part Two.  Read Part One Here! *****

Wednesday trip to the park.  Sister love!


Violet loves putting in hair bows and posing.  Seriously - posing!  She cracks me up - where in the world does she get this?  I did not teach her...promise!


Ginger dancing while Paprika plays piano:


Nothing cooler than mom's sunglasses!


Thursday we stayed home all day long.  I kept trying to get out of the house, but every time I tried to leave, I was thwarted!  It was a comedy of errors.

Anyhoo - the girls had a great time playing in the backyard and didn't seem to mind staying home one bit!


Best friends and sisters - these two always make me smile!


My favorite moment of the whole week is this moment right here!  The girls were playing in the backyard with their shoes on - and Ginger was wearing these pseudo-Crocs (not really Crocs, but I got them because they are cute - but I didn't realize they'd make her feet bleed!)

So, Ginger came in the house crying because her feet were bleeding (they really were - it looked so painful).  And before I could do anything (I was taking care of Violet at the moment!)- Paprika swooped in and did her magic.

She got an icepack out of the freezer, a wet paper towel, a washcloth, some neosporin from the high medicine cabinet (she stood on a chair and climbed to the top of the dryer), and also some bandaids.  Before I could turn around, I walked into this scene.  Miss Florence Nightingale herself!  ;-)


After a few moments, everything was all better!


As if nothing had happened!


Don't you just love that about childhood?


Then, today (Friday) - we went to the Wilderness Park.


I know it doesn't look like anyone else was there because I artfully framed everyone out of the picture who was not related to me.  But let me tell you, it was a ZOO.  We arrived seconds after a daycamp of probably 150 kids (and three counselors - ha!) showed up.    There was also some kind of family reunion of 50 or so people - who literally followed us through the park.  I kept trying to go the opposite way, and yet YET - they were always magically there!  And then, there were the regular summer park-goers, too.  I was like:  I'm ready for y'all to go back to school now because 'come Fall when I'm homeschooling, this park is MINE! ;-)

Anyhoo- Paprika picked up this yellow leaf and actually said:  This yellow leaf represents peace and tranquility. Be still, says the leaf.

She started meditating right there - and was so Zen about the whole thing.


We pressed on and saw all sorts of things.  But at one point, we came upon a hive of bees and they literally started swarming my head!  I had Violet on my back in the Ergo and started running and swatting my head and in general looking like a mad-worman.  They would not leave!  We got down to the pond, and finally I got them off of me, but then there were like ninety people just hanging out down at the pond and I couldn't find Ginger or Paprika!





So, anyhoo- after I found everyone, I said:  Let's get back in the van and go home and eat ice cream.  ;-)

And everyone shouted:  Horray!

So, we went back to the van and I closed the doors and put the air-conditioning on high and turned the music up for the girls and I was like:  THIS is the peace and quiet I was seeking at the wilderness park!

All's Well That Ends Well, right?!

Have A Great Weekend! 

The End!

Oh What A Week! Part One!


Sometimes - okay, many times - I feel like all I do is the same thing every single day...clean up, feed people, change diapers, bathe people, get people to sleep, and did I mention clean up?  Hahahaha.

But, then I look back at the week - and I am reminded of all the living we did in between those moments of survival.  It encourages me that what I am doing has meaning...and that hopefully we are making some great memories together.


These snapshots make me happy and encourage me to keep focusing on the big picture.  I hope they encourage you, too!

Paprika barefoot in the park!  I remember not too long ago when she wouldn't even let grass touch her feet. Little victory!  ;-)


Mr. M got a phone call to work on a big budget studio feature film on Saturday.  He couldn't say no - so he left early on Saturday and I was hoping he would be home in time for our date night (I had already reserved Miss Christina to babysit).

He texted me at 7:30 (about half an hour before Miss Christina was set to arrive) saying he wouldn't be home until 1am or later.  By then, it was too late to cancel Christina (plus the girls were so excited to see her).  It was also too late for me to make plans with anyone else.  So, I went to the beach by myself!


There was hardly anyone there - it was so peaceful and serene!

My date stood me up last minute due to work...but I already had the date night with myself. Peace and quiet!

I loved walking and looking at all the beachfront houses and listening to the waves crash on the shore.


Then, I went to Chipotle and it was a real lonely hearts club there!  Man!  I got my food and found a sweet little spot in the corner and read books on the Kindle app on my phone.  I also brought earplugs so I wouldn't have to listen to anyone else's chatter.  It was bliss!

The next day (Sunday), we went in search of Jessie from Toy Story.  Violet loves the Woody and Jessie dolls, and she searched low and high for this little dollie (who I'm so glad I didn't donate to Goodwill!)

So, anyway- this was a big moment! Ha!

We found Jessie!

Girls dancing in the living room - daily scene in our house:


Trip to the Seahorse Park (as Ginger calls it).  Always a good time!


Mr. M had to work on Sunday and he took Paprika to work with him.  She was so excited to go - but she didn't realize that she'd be there until 3am!  So - yea, she was a little tired when she got home.  And I actually do mean - just a little tired!  She still asked if she could read a few books before she fell asleep.  Ha!


Monday night piano lesson with Paprika's new teacher.

Piano time!

Paprika fooling around after the lesson:


Quick pic of Daisy - who is the best and smartest dog ever!  Seriously.  I let her sit next to me on the couch - Mr. M says NO dogs on the couch! - but I am trying to win Daisy over because no matter what I do, she likes Mr. M just a little bit more than me.  I think it's some alpha-male thing...but anyway, I will win her over to my couch privilege at a time.  ;-)

Dog days of summer...

Tuesday - girls at the park (again!)  They all dressed themselves!  Love that!


And that gets me through Tuesday!  Haha.  I'm going to break this up into two posts because it's getting SO LONG with pictures.  More to come, soon!  :-)