Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the Year

Here we are, New Year's Eve morning, hard to believe we are about to enter a new year. This is the year that comes with both comfort and some confusion. 2012. If we are to follow the Mayan calendar there is a change happening, what that change could be is really up for God to determine. Am I scared, no not really, but I am not going to sit here idle either. We have been talking about developing an emergency preparedness kit and we are going to start putting that together. We live in area where earthquakes happen, we need to be prepared.

My hope for the New Year would be to leave all of last year's GARBAGE behind. I know there are some pieces which will continue to carry forward but not by me. I leave it all in the past and I hope others will too.

I don't like to make resolutions, they are so easy to break, but I have some goals in mind.
  • I need to get my life organized
  • I want our family to get healthy
  • I want to be more patient
I realize these may not seem like much but they are enough to get me in the right direction at the moment.

Taking the advice of a fellow wife of a veteran with PTSD on Family of a Vet, I wrote my husband a letter for Christmas letting him know the reasons I still love him even with all of the PTSD troubles we have been facing. Sometimes it is hard to look at a person and remember why we married them in the beginning when life throws troubles our way. This was a wonderful exercise for me and for any married woman to remind herself and her spouse why they got married in the beginning. My husband and I have gone through A LOT of bad times but we never let those get us down. Those times always brought us closer together, which is our goal for our marriage in the future.

I remember many times of happiness in our 15 years together. We have watched our own family develop and grow as well as our extended family. We were still in the early stages of our relationship when my oldest niece was born. He was amazed at how a family came together for this one event and he wanted to be part of that family, he never had anything like that in his life before. He was so scared to hold this tiny bundle but his face lit up when he did and the family was so encouraging to him then.

When we had our own child, our son, everyone came to the hospital again. These are times of celebration and when you discover the true meaning of family. Family should stick together even when they have differences. Differences should be discussed to be resolved.

That sense of family I have talked about is gone and I would love to have it back but that will probably never happen now. This makes me sad but my life is with my husband and children and it truly is a wonderful life.

Happy New Year one and all and may the new year be everything you wish it to be.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Getting Ready for the New Year

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas/Holiday with their families and/or friends, I know we had a great Christmas with my mom. Hard to believe we are about to enter a New Year, this past year seems to have flown by. We still have several fun days ahead of us to celebrate with family and friends.

I have decided that this next year will be a year of some challenges both personally and as a family. So the Top 5 Challenges/Goals for 2012 are:
  • An Organized House
    • Especially the Office/Classroom Area
    • Laundry Put Away, Right Away
    • Be able to have the house clean in minutes
    • Help my Daughter get Organized in Her Room
  • An Organized Heart
    • Get Healthy both body and spirit
    • Lose Weight
    • Exercise Regularly
    • Continue to Eat Healthy
  • Declutter and Purge the Excess
So maybe this is more than 5 but I am sure you get the idea.

I think we are going to take the tree down today, it is very dry. Then I can put the house back in order.
I feel very fortunate that my classes start a week after the kids go back to school so I will have a little more time to relax and focus on keeping things running smoothly before I jump in the my classes.

Happy December 26th.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

December 2011

Dear Family & Friends,
          Hard to believe another year has passed. Like so many others this year has given us many ups and downs. I think the downs have made us stronger and the ups have made us a bit more humble, I hope.
          As many of you know we moved in June from Ocean Shores to the Olympia. Hard to believe we lived at the Beach for almost 10 years. Our house hunt was grueling and took us the better part of a month, but we finally found a great house in Lacey and we are pretty happy here. I think we had forgotten how different city life can be from living at the end of the world.
          We also have discovered just how serious PTSD can be and what it can do to a whole family. We would not be in our new home without the assistance of a VA Program and Catholic Community Services VA Program, which in itself is very humbling. The VA Programs have not only physically helped by they have helped monetarily and even emotionally. We feel so blessed to have been directed to this program
          The kids have had a great year as well. Veronica turned 10 in June and finished the 4th grade in Ocean Shores. Joey turned 13 in July and made so much progress in school he was very confident about starting 7th grade in September. With the move came several other changes, we decided to homeschool using a public virtual academy, Washington Virtual Academy or WAVA which is centered out of the Steilacoom Historical School District. While this has been a huge change and challenge we have all learned so much. I would much rather spend 6 hours a day teaching my kids then to have them gone for 6 + hours then do another 3-4 hours of homework with them.
          Schooling at home is so different and the kids have not missed a single day of school. They have schooled when sick, while on the road to the VA, and even going grocery shopping with mom and dad. We have discovered there is nothing that cannot incorporate school lessons of some kind.
          The VA has finally approved a portion of Joe’s disability and we are working on the balance, they claim they need more information! After my years of going back to school, changing not only programs but schools, February 14, 2012 I will have completed my associate’s degree and will begin on my bachelor’s degree in business management.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to One and All!
With Love,

The Busenius Family ~ Joe aka DH, Pam (me), Joey aka DS, and Veronica aka DD, Hailey the Beagle, and Duey the Dachshund

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Daughter

My darling daughter is 10 1/2 years old and I swear going to drive me to drink at times. This morning I got her up so we could get the day started at 8:30. By 9:32am she was telling me was finished for the whole day and free to do what she wanted. I called BS and ended up yelling at her.

Her idea of doing Literature this morning was to pick up the book off the shelf, thumb through it, and toss it back on the shelf. WHAT?!?! Then proudly announced she was finished. I asked her to show me her student guide pages and she countered with 'what pages?'...really?!?! I asked her the discussion questions and she had no clue as to what I was talking about. I told her that wasn't dump enough to fall for this line and now she was going to not only do the work but what ever else I decided she needed to do. Then dad got involved. Needless to say she was given the lecture from dad and promptly got back to doing her work correctly.

Now it is after 11am and she is finished for the day and I have given her tomorrow off. We will be doing some work during Christmas Break, couple of days here and there, since we will start in January with semester assessments.

Right now I have daughter picking up her room then she can have the rest of the day to work on holiday crafts for family members.

Dad and I will be going to the VA today and I have just found out I am going to have to change some plans for next week due to the VA, but life happens!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Happy December

I have not posted in a while. Life has been absolutely crazy and I wish everything would calm down but I know better.

We were going to decorate the tree but maybe we are going for the minimalist effect since it has been in the house for 2 days with NOTHING on it at all. Hubby goes to grab the box of lights to find out that we cannot find the white lights for the tree and I do not like multi-colored lights on the tree. I told him we could take the 300 strand out of our daughters room for the tree and I was told that was not even enough lights to get started with so why bother! I am not sure what he is thinking!

We have also rearranged the furniture about 3 times trying to find the right place for the tree, our living room is small. Hubby asked me why this is so hard to figure out. I explained how it took awhile to figure out how to fit everything to begin with and now we need to make a is never easy. The tree is easily 7 feet tall and a good 3+ feet it is in the dining room...more room available.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Wanting to take a little time for an update.

Been really busy here with my classes and the kids. It also never seems to fail as we get closer to the Holidays we get busy and forget about the little things in a blog post.

We are looking forward to a great day with friends. We are cooking a turkey with all the trimmings and so thankful to have new friends to share this day with. In a few hours the calm of our morning will give into the chaos of  3 - 10 year old little girls, a 6 year old girl, a 13 year old boy, and 4 adults...can't forget about the 2 dogs either. I wouldn't change a thing.

Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent and we are going to try something new. Not only will I be working with the kids on Advent and the meaning of Advent. We will be talking about the meaning of Christmas each week. We will also be incorporating different cultures around the world and how they celebrate this Holiday Season. We will learn about the Tlingit Indians, since the kids are part Tlingit. We will learn about Sweden and then Germany. Finally, we will be learning about Hanukkah. Really looking forward to exploring these cultures with the kids.

Today though they will be working on 'What they are Thankful for', some turkey activities, and letters to Santa.

Happy Thanksgiving and may your day be full of Fun, Family, Friends, Food, and Football!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Happy Weekend

I hope everyone has had a great weekend. For the most part I have but I am frustrated with one of my instructors, still waiting on a rough draft to be graded and the final is due tomorrow. (screaming internally)

On a more positive note my darling daughter got to spend the whole weekend with her new friends. They played make-up, played Barbie's, rode bikes, and just enjoyed being 10 together. They brought her home today and she is so tired, almost to the point of whiny but not quite. She wanted to make cookies with me so we made blueberry granola cookies that were/are de-lish-e-oso, as she has put it.

We are now into our third month of homeschooling and it has truly been a great experience. I love the fact they can work independently but can stop and ask questions even if it takes longer than expected. There is no time schedule other than I say they need to be getting started by 9 am. Of course we have had some long days but we have also had those days where everyone seems to be on task and done early.

I have to say we have lived here in Lacey for 5 months now and we still love it. We are happier as a family and we are making some friends. Not that we do not miss people from our lives but we are continuing to add quality to our lives daily. I go through times when I miss my "girls" so much I am ready to move back but those days have become less and less the more I connect with others. Miss you "girls".

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy November

Happy November, yep 3 days late.

I have been so busy with the kids homeschooling and then my own classes there has been hardly a moment of free time. So glad I only have the two kids.

We have successfully completed 2 months of homeschooling and I still have all my hair, might be a few new gray ones in there but still I haven't pulled it out yet. We had such a great month. We really worked on staying on task and completing subject in a timely manner. Yeah!!

I have celebrated a another birthday and we are now looking forward to the coming Holidays.

I have more homework but that is all for now.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Traditions usually mean a lot to those that begin the tradition as well as to those who have followed in the footsteps of those traditions. I think I have come to a time in my life when I want to start a few traditions based on me and my family. It is not to exclude anyone from what we are doing but to make our time together better.

There are so many days, even with the kids being home schooled, we are in our own area and focused on our own projects we tend to miss real time together. We are going to start with Thanksgiving. There is so much more to Thanksgiving then eating as much as you can in one meal and watching some football, don't get me wrong the food is good and the game usually is too, but we are missing something. Being Thankful for what we have is the true key to Thanksgiving.

I have been watching the Joplin Extreme Makeover progress on Facebook and crying for these people I have never met, what a wonderful experience for them. I am amazed at how fast these homes are being put together by these volunteers.

I am so Thankful my life has never been touched by natural disaster.

So here is to traditions both old and new...hopefully they will find a happy blending of the two.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Goosebumps...the Good Kind

You ever hear those stories that give you goosebumps, not the scary ones but the honest to God pleasing goosebumps?!?! I love those stories and I have had a couple today.

First Attack
My first attack of the goosebumps came when I heard through Facebook that a dear friend of our very dear friends were chosen for Extreme Makeover:Home Edition Joplin, to aid in the recovery from the May 22nd tornado. Knowing our friends the way I do, I just knew in my heart of heart this other family was incredible. I had seen some footage of their house after the tornado and was devastated for them and everyone in Joplin. Seeing devastation from a more personal perspective was better than any news footage you could ever see.
Having watched many episodes of Extreme Makeover:Home Edition I knew this family, along with the other 6 families in Joplin, were going to be Blessed beyond any one's expectations. Here is a great article on the event.

Second Attack
The second attack of goosebumps came during a meeting this afternoon with the housing manager. We were talking about their monthly dinners and when it would be and then the following dinner would be on Thanksgiving at the same time. I think that my dear hubby and I had the same thought at the same time because we asked what time we needed to be there on Thanksgiving. There was no thought to anything else but helping people less fortunate than ourselves. When we talked to the kids they both wanted to know what we would be bringing then for Thanksgiving. That was discussion of anything else, they want to help others too.

I have always cooked a Thanksgiving dinner for us either on Thanksgiving or sometime that weekend so we will have our turkey but we will be giving so much back to others. Knowing my kids are looking forward to this makes me realize we have actually done something right, we have raised great caring and giving kids.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tis the Season

Well the season of colds has hit my house. I am pleased though since it took longer than normal to reach us. In past years the colds usually start entering the house within two weeks of school starting. Even mom has the stuffed up feeling but this too shall pass.

Friday is our trip to the pumpkin patch and the kids are looking forward to that.

School is going really well for the kids and mom too. I have seen some great progress withboth kids in their willingness to work. My own classes were giving me fits but thankfully I was able to get finished with my dear sons help. Laugh but it was about fossils and evolution and those are subjects he completely understands since he was not raised to discount theories but to try to understand them.

I have to design a Halloween Costume for my dear daughter. She wants to be the Queen of Hearts but with a dress not just a playing card. This could be fun.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Happy Thursday

So glad it is Thursday today. Actually, I have to say I am just so glad last week is behind us now. It is always so much better when my dear hubby is home instead of away.

I have been thinking about how great of an experience we have been having with schooling the kids at home. Granted there have been a few crazy, going to pull my hair out, run screaming from the room days, but they were more in the beginning than a constant now. We still have some moments but it takes nothing to get kids on task. I found that by saving Art and Science for later in the day there is something to look forward to doing.

Speaking of Science, we have had a great time with both of the kids' science curriculum. Last week with 5th grade Science DD and I made salt water layers and today she and dad made a current using different temps of salt water. She loved it and completely understood what and why it was happening. 7th Grade Earth Science is on Rocks and Minerals now and DS and Dad were doing scratch test using the rock and mineral kit he got for Science. The next couple of days he is busy classifying the rocks into different categories, he is a happy boy.

It has not all been fun and games, grammar is one of those subjects that is easy to use (for most people) then to describe. The grammar is a bit more advanced then what both of the kids were used to, fortunately I have found some different helps and ideas that enhance what we, yes we, are learning.

In many ways I think Literature is their favorite subject next to Science. They have enjoyed the reading so much. They actually end up reading a lot everyday. DS has an online portion of his Math, then reads a couple of extra pages, before doing the exercises. They both have two to three chapters of History everyday to read and answer questions on. I am amazed at some of the conversations we have had about what they are studying. Great times.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Busy Days

I just realized that I have not posted anything in almost a week. Dear hubby was gone for the week and he will finally be home tomorrow. He was helping with a large catering event...been interesting without him around. Of course my darling daughter knows how to push every button to make me cave, which started with not being able to sleep alone if daddy wasn't home to she didn't want me to be lonely. Like I could really be lonely with both dogs on the bed.

We had a successful week of school last week and managed to stay on task...yeah! My class work is coming right along and so glad they are only 5 1/2 week sessions.

The dogs will be very happy to have dad home too.

We had Girl Scouts tonight and my daughter had a wonderful time with her 'girls'.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Art of Grocery Shopping

Well today we went and did the majority of our grocery shopping. I have to say I really do not like to go grocery shopping in general, running to the store to grab a couple of things is not grocery shopping, coming home, unloading the car (with help), everyone pitching in to put things away, now that is grocery shopping. I am pretty careful about my shopping and I make a list during the last week of the month and as things become empty. I try to never run out of things but it has been known to happen to the best of shoppers.

First, we went to the meat market, Western Meats, and bought a 50# variety pack. When I figured everything out it broke down to only $2.599 per pound and I know I usually end up paying $2.99 per pound just for ground beef and it only goes up from there. We then went to Fred Meyer to check on a prescription for my daughter, they were out so I will get it tomorrow. Fortunately there is a Starbucks in Fred Meyer, so I got a coffee, Pumpkin Spice Latte, and hubby got a shaken black tea not to mention the doughnuts we brought home for the kids.

The kids decided they wanted to go to Costco with us so we got ready and off we were. I really think we were in Costco for over an hour and we pretty much only stuck to the grocery section. We didn't need meat but we did need everything to go with meat, so with list in hand we began our trip. The kids walked ahead to grab what I asked them to grab so hubby and I could talk. By the time we left Costco we were all getting a little tired but I needed one more stop.

Final stop was WinCo. This is not our favorite place to shop but the prices are pretty good and there are so many things we need that Costco doesn't carry or I don't need Army sized. We do like to go there when we need a good laugh and today didn't forget to give us that which we needed. The kids have started calling WinCo, WeirDo, yep this would put "People of WalMart" to shame. Today we were walking down the frozen food aisle we were the observers of another shopper, younger and male, yelling at the frozen food case, particularly the frozen chicken case. We were not sure why and I don't think his female companion knew why either because she really tried to get him to stop but he just got louder. (Who thought the city life wouldn't be fun?!?! ROFL) Ok then...we are finished. Off to the check out and there were two extreme couponers in front of us and the cashier needed an over ride because it was over $10 in coupons. By the time it was my turn the cashier looked at me expectantly and I told her I have no coupons I never remember to carry them or use them.

We pull up into the drive way and there are the darling dogs sitting on the hall/sofa table in front of the window watching for their people to come home. It really is a good thing the dogs are smaller or else they would knock us over with their wagging tails. See I guess grocery shopping can be fun.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Another Week in Paradise

Yep, here we are starting another wonderful week in my own personal paradise. No, I have not moved to a tropical island with some young stud. My classes began yesterday so in addition to my kids' education I have my own. I am taking a general science class and microeconomics. How much fun can we have now!

Yesterday was a busy day with printing out all my necessary course work for the next 5 1/2 weeks and then on to the kids' history course materials, hoping this is the last week for printing them. We really had a laid back day yesterday, I even just laid on the couch and watched at a movie. Pretty strange!

Today my darling children decided they were having a holiday, but I have discovered every Monday seems to be this same holiday...Procrastination Day!!! Yep, there were the Monday morning blahs present in the house this morning. It was rather funny on many levels. After breakfasts' and showers they got started around 9:30 am and both of them were finished by 1:30 pm. Maybe we have Procrastination Mornings not whole days!

Took my darling daughter to the doctor this afternoon for a small round rash on her chest she has had for about a week. It actually began as a bug bite then developed into a rash. I had a feeling I knew what it was but I wasn't positive, sure enough it was ring worm caused by the bug bite. Her scratching at it doesn't help either. Fortunately it was only in that one spot so the cream will fix it right up. She and her friends have been playing outside as much as possible before the weather changes, so I am not surprised at all.

Tomorrow, armed with my grocery list, we will head out to go shopping. This could get interesting.

Friday, September 30, 2011

First Month of Homeschooling

Wow, hard to believe tomorrow is October 1st and a whole month of school is behind us. We have had some ups and downs bother personally and with trying to figure everything out. The kids have taken to schooling at home far better then I had anticipated. I think they are truly learning.

My dear son has discovered the joys of success and a few not so successes, but those have been learning experiences. When he is working online and answers the questions he knows immediately if he is right or wrong and he cannot move on until it is correct. When it comes to assessments he has to wait until it is completed to know how he did and there have been a few repeats. He has discovered there are many times his first thought was correct but he second guessed himself.

Darling daughter, well she is so very different from her brother, like night and day. She struggles with some concepts because she begins to over think things. Just like her mom. If I can keep her focused she will breeze through everything without any trouble. This past week I started to reward her with scrap booking or craft time after school was over. I can proudly say we have scrapbooked 3 days and tonight we have tried a sewing craft. We are having great luck with our craft and she is already planning another.

Overall I have to say this has been a month of learning for all of us. I have learned to give the kids some say in how things are done as well as listening to them when they believe we can try it different next time. They have both learned how much fun learning can be. I think even dad has learned that homeschooling is a job for all and not just one.

Completed Project

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Just Some Rambling

Have to say I am very happy it is Thursday, which means tomorrow is Friday. Duey has been with us for a week now and hasn't bit anyone since my dear hubby last Friday. He really is a cute little guy and he loves to follow our beagle around. There have been a few times I have turned around and they are both sitting the same way and looking at me like they are waiting for something, yes usually a treat. Not sure sometimes what is crazier, the kids or the dogs.

I have developed a frustration with people who only want things from you, or in my case, ME, without giving anything worth while in return. I might be just in one of my 'moods' but not too sure yet. There always seems to be a time when these kind of things happen, maybe there is an underlying stress. Who knows!?!?

We went to Costco yesterday and were checking out the Christmas decorations. We were all thinking about putting up lights in the front. Looking forward to the Holidays, not sure what our plans will be just yet but whatever they are we will have a great time. The most important part for me and hubby is being together with the kids for the Holidays. We have had to spend one set of Holidays without him, when he was overseas but we have planned to never be separated again for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

My darling daughter and I are already planning some decorations we can make as well as some other gift ideas. She is 10 and I figure it is about time to show her how to use a needle and thread. Pray for me! She loves to craft and loves one-on-one time with me so this might work to my advantage.

We have had a pretty good we so far with only one rough day and even that isn't too bad with all the VA runs we have made this week. We are on task for our monthly school goals and everyone is learning something, even mom and dad.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

VA Medical Services

There are times when I will completely praise the Department of Veterans Affairs for all the wrongs they are working towards making right but there are other times when I am amazed at the entire VA process. Both yesterday and today we have been to the VA for my dear hubby. Yesterday he had a regular appointment and there was a change in medications, then after waiting 45 minutes for pick up his prescriptions he just wanted out of the building. Today we went back to talk to the benefit specialist in regards to his paperwork that was submitted and they are requiring additional information.

The military is known for the hurry up and wait for just about anything unless you are in uniform but even that can take a while depending on which department you are going to. We got the information we needed to complete his additional paperwork but we were amazed that they were wanting another account of a stressful event for the PTSD portion of his benefits. How many times do we have to relay the same thing over and over again?!?! As it turns out of the whole packet sent to us only one single sheet needs to be returned. Really???

I am not saying we have been treated bad by our VAMC because that is not the case at all, but they are so overloaded with 10 years of combat veterans returning and adding to the already taxing burden of veterans they are simply overloaded. There is always a ton of people coming in, going out, or just plain waiting. I cannot go to the pharmacy and pickup my husbands prescriptions while he is finishing up with a doctor. He has to pick them up himself. So glad most of his meds are mailed to us when needed.

So grateful the soldiers are receiving the care and treatment they earned but I just hate watching so many waiting and waiting to get the help. I will say I know our VAMC does not have the same amount to patients some of the other facilities have. On a very positive note there is a level of respect at the VA that you only get inside the military.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Parenting Rules

When my oldest child was born I was just a few months shy of turning 30 and I was scared of this little tiny bundle. I was amazed at how scared of him I was since I was the oldest of 4 and I already had nephews and nieces, not to mention the fact that many of my friends had children. I am usually really good with kids but that tiny little bundle scared the CRAP out of me. There was a moment about an hour after he was born when everyone left the room and I was not allowed up just yet, here was this bundle just out of arms reach. What would I do if he started to cry?!?! We were only truly alone for 5-10 minutes but those were a few of the longest minutes of my life.

Two days later when we left the hospital we were given a book on newborn care, not to mention we already had "What to Expect the First Year". It is kind of ironic considering how many times we tell our kids or even heard ourselves, kids don't come with an instruction book. Well honestly we had an instruction book. Needless to say we really didn't need it my sisters had kids and they all survived, how hard can it truly be?!?!?!

Now as I sit here with a 13 year old boy and a 10 year old girl (going on 15, at least) I really wish I had an instruction book. There are times I still wonder what to do if they cry, because at this point the crying is just as bad as when they were babies but then they had a excuse, they didn't talk. There are times when I chalk it up to growing up. There are times now they are no better at expressing themselves then they were as babies but then I knew to check all the basic needs first. Now they can handle many of their basic needs.

I have realized that the key to parenting is making stuff up as you go along. There have been times when I have made up something and my dear hubby looks at me wondering what got into me. Those are the times I just smile and nod until he gets it. Yep, the bobble head look can work.

I am amazed at how fast our children grow. My son has been spending spare time watching videos of some xBox game he wants to get and my daughter is watching music videos on her computer or listening to the Disney Karaoke Channel and singing her heart out. Funny thing is the dogs will watch with her.

Just remember when all less fails to just make it up as you go and they will figure it out much later in life.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I have noticed since starting to school at home, weekends don't really mean the same thing any more. No I am not the least bit surprised but it has just really clicked maybe.

We spent a pretty lazy weekend for the most part. We welcomed a new dog into our family on Friday and Friday night he tried to take off the hubby's thumb. We believe he was abused and probably by a man. He is really a sweet dog and will go to hubby now. Duey actually bit right through hubby's thumb nails, yep both of them. Since then he has been a great little guy.

Finished all my planning and organizing for the week today. Still waiting on the history guides to come so I print the student pages on Sunday for the week and highlight what they need to be doing. My dear son is starting to realize mom needs him to actually answer the questions on paper and not just orally. He really hates the physical act of writing and will do almost anything to get out of it. Darling daughter on the other hand loves to scribble all the time.

We are working with daughter to be more productive. I explained to her we all have bad days and bad days are allowed, they happen but we need to work towards good days as well as productive days. I explained to her if her lessons take her twice as long because she is goofing off she will not get credit for the time spent not working. We are going to try this week at the end of every day if she has been productive, we are going to spend 15-20 minutes scrap booking and by the end of the week we should have a whole new page done. She loves the idea. made me feel like super mom.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thank Heaven for Friday

I have to say I can hardly remember a Friday I was more thankful for. Wow what a week we have had. Nothing major or bad but it seems this has been a really long week.
Both of the kids ended up with several tests today so my dear son blew through his day and was done by noon I think. My darling daughter on the other hand was a little slower on her math unit test and decided to take over two hours to finish. When dad pushed because I was irritated she decided to guess which of course will not work in her favor. She did get finished about 2 pm but she was jealous brother was finished first.

We welcomed a new puppy into our home today. He is a 3 year old dachshund named Duey. I think he is in love with my daughter. He sat on the table behind the couch watching her playing outside with her friends smiling. This was after he tried to take hubby's thumbs off cause he got scared. Our beagle, Hailey, seems to be ok with the addition as well.

I am going to keep today short since I am really tired and it was pretty hot all day.

Ronie with Duey on his perch


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Homeschool Mom...from her, to me, to share

There I was minding my own business writing some of my personal ramblings to share with the world and I was tagged in a blog by another blogger. OK so now what?! After a little research I am able to finish the task put toward me. Thank you Garden Tenders for the tag. So the task is to answer some questions about without further adieu:

1. One homeschooling book you have enjoyed: What book? I did not get a book when this was laid on our hearts. I did, however, get Learning Coach Guides from WAVA to help me explain the lessons but I have no book on homeschooling.

2. One resource I wouldn't be without: Honestly I think that would be my sense of humor or the Internet but really my sense of humor helps more than the Internet at this point.

3. One resource I wish I had never bought: Well I have bought no resources at this point in time. We have resources which were sent to us through WAVA and all of the resources we have already had, but we have not purchased anything.

4. One resource I enjoyed last year: This is our first year with home based education for our kids so there is nothing to base this question on honestly...but I will say I miss the peace and quiet from last year.

5. One resource I will be using next year: Next year I hope to be feeling as positive about homeschooling as I am right now, minus the peace and quiet thing, but I will be using other mom's advice and thoughts again. Sometimes I just love to read what the other moms are saying about their own days with the kiddos, makes me realize I am not alone on this wild ride.

6. One resource I would like to buy: Ask me again in June. With the availability of so many resources online it is hard to determine what to buy, what to download, or what to ignore for now.

7. One resource I wish existed: A clone of myself to clean the house. Thank Heaven and the Powers that be my hubby is available to help with many chores in the house or some lessons so I can do chores or even breathe.

8. One home school catalog I enjoy: CATALOG!!! Who has time for a catalog? Between the kids, the hubby, the house, and my own schooling I am lucky I have time to read the mail.

9. One home school website I use regularly: WAVA and Facebook Yep you read me correctly, Facebook. I have made wonderful home school or virtual academy families on Facebook and they have been THE BEST resources in the world.

10. This said to tag other homeschoolers but I honestly do not know many home school blogs, sorry. If you have any to recommend for me to read please post in comments.

Now I know there are a few of you out there reading this and laughing and even more that do not feel sorry for me since this is a choice I made. Please laugh at me and my adventure but never think you need to feel sorry for me, I am loving this more than you can dream of. The greatest joy we have experienced has been the chance to have the kids home for school. All those 90 degree days we schooled in the morning, lake in the middle of the day, and schooled again in the evening when it was cooler. No two days are the same!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Mom in Me

I have to tell you I really feel like I have multiple personalities. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, etc...not to mention the fact I am a full time student as well as a full time homeschool mom. Would I change or give up any of these titles? Not for anything. There are times I would like to hang up one hat and give it some time off without seriously jeopardizing anything. Not sure if it will happen but one can always dream.

The mom in me would really like to get a shower in a reasonable timeframe but realistically I believe I need to get up even earlier to get that task accomplished. Pretty soon I might have to get up before I get any sleep. Maybe after we have established a clear routine I will get to shower while they are getting breakfast and started in the morning.

There have been a few times when the mom in me is ready to change my name to ANYTHING and then not tell them. I tried changing my name with my nephew when he was 5...didn't work out to well for me, he enjoyed the whole idea. I have never realized how wiggly my dear daughter is until we started schooling at goodness.

So as much as the mom in me wants that shower in the morning, mom really needs the coffee and peace and quite first before the shower. I am sure things will continue to take on a more solid shape as we progress through this journey but honestly it is A LOT harder than I imagined it would be.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Life with My Husband's PTSD

This is not something that I would normally start with but there are aspects of the PTSD that wear on me. My husband suffers from combat related PTSD and in such so do I and the rest of the family. We are diligent in how we watch Dad and everything around Dad. The most common statement used is the house, "Is Dad ok?" Everyday is different, I know they are for everybody, but these are different in a whole other way. We never know from day to day what to expect and the medication does not seem to be helping.

There are times I believe the medications are hindering the process for handling the stressors of PTSD. The meds have added a paranoia that was never present prior. We have discovered he does not look people in the eye any longer and he is uncomfortable in a group of people even ones he knows. These are some of the factors that cause problems in our lives as well as with people around us.

There are times I wonder why this has happened or what I have done to make these situations worse. I know the general answer is there is no answer. This happens and not just to combat veterans. This can happen to everyone that has experienced a traumatic event in life. Do I know how to fix this? No I don't so I feel helpless.

I wish there was greater awareness available on how to recognize the signs of PTSD to help prevent additional traumatic events from happening within a family. I have gotten better at recognizing trouble situations but even I have missed a few things. Sometimes it is like living with a smaller child, we need boundaries as well as expectations but the lollipop at the end of the day is not the reward. The reward is another good day. Personally I would like every day to be a good day but I will take all the good days I can get.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Saturday Adventure

I have to say that we have had an interesting day, especially for a Saturday. We went out to our storage unit and an Estate Buyer met us to look at a few things we are thinking of selling and I can honestly say that some of his thoughts were a little out there. Now don't get me wrong we watch all those fun shows, Storage Wars, Auction Hunters, American Pickers, and Pawn Stars, we understand the difference between a retail price and our asking price but this guy had some really different ideas.

The retail prices that he mentioned for some of the items were 1/2 off Sunday Garage Sale prices. The really funny part is we could tell he was really interested in a few of the pieces but he was not willing to offer anything for those pieces so we could consider it. Needless to say I will continue with my Craigslist and eBay and see how I do.

After we came home from storage we did get a call for the elliptical. So hubby and I went back to storage, put it in the back of our SUV, and off to deliver it. So my hour or so away from the house turned into some quality time with the hubby and the beagle, she jumped in the car and didn't want to get out. I knew were I was going and I even knew how to get there but oh my one wrong turn and you end up VERY misplaced. The more misplaced I got the crankier I got and the funnier hubby thinks it is. I did print a map from mapquest but it did not print the correct section. It probably took us an hour plus to find the house and 10 minutes to get back to the main road from the house.

You have to love the craziness of life. On the positive side hubby was looking at an old picture in a frame, went to adjust it in the frame and found a 50 dollar bill behind it. Might just need to check some more pictures.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Survival Kits Etc.

When we lived in Ocean Shores the kids were to have a emergency kit in case of a Tsunami, our biggest threat. Now living in Lacey it is recommended to have an Earthquake kit in case of an emergency. Of course you can purchase a really great pre-made emergency preparedness kit at Costco and other retailers or you can design your own. Now having lived in the Puget Sound Region most of my life I understand about Earthquakes and have been through several but I never had a kit for it. In fact my mom raised four kids alone without a single kit or how-to manual. I wonder how she, or us, made it out alive?!?!

I honestly believe that I could survive without a kit but if I was going to design a survival kit here is what it would contain:
  • Chocolate - different varieties would be best for different situations
  • Coffee - a MUST and those little packets make it easy now
  • Nail File - many great uses
  • Flashlight or Book light - it might get dark at some point
  • $$$$ - always a helpful item, especially in emergencies
  • Book - never know when you might just need to escape reality
  • Pain Reliever - stress headaches can come on in emergencies
  • Vodka - a small bottle to help with the stress (will also help to lighten the mood and make you laugh)
There are probably many other things that could be placed in the kit but these are just the ones that came to mind right away. Many of these same items can fit right into our purses with room to spare, I could pack for a weekend in mine but that is a whole other story. Think about with probably one or two exceptions these same items are probably already in your purse ready for the very next emergency, Earthquake, Tsunami, broken nail, or the ever popular shopping trip from H*^l.

Now I am not really making fun of the fact that emergencies do happen and we have seen them unfold in front of our very eyes but honestly can we be prepared for everything?!?! In the 9 1/2 years that we lived in Ocean Shores we had been through three (3) Tsunami warnings and two of them were within 13 months of each other.

I wish that any of our greatest survival is making out of Costco without being broke and time will only tell what is next to come, but until then take life one step at a time and one survival moment at a time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another Wednesday

Here we are at another Wednesday...almost done with the week and what a crazy week it has been. School has been going pretty good for the kids and we have had some up and down days. Darling Daughter decided to spend 4 hours on Math on Monday so we got very little actually finished. She was struggling so bad with the wording in this curriculum, honestly hoping to get past this soon.

My Dear Son on the other hand is confused by the grammar. We have slowed down a bit so he could completely grasp the concept but then he is ready to just surge forward. I still know I have made the right decision for my children but there are times when I want to running screaming from the room.

One thing we have done is allow them the freedom to work where they want to work, the office/classroom, the living room, dining room, or whatever would be comfortable. This has really helped with the fidgets a lot. They also both have spinning chairs and will spin side to side while working, I would be puking but whatever works for them.

Tomorrow my dear hubby has a VA appointment in Tacoma, early, so the kids have their plans and were told where to get started...lets see how this will work. Now my daughter just had to come and tell me all about her TV show she is watching on Disney. I must be tired, she made it sound interesting.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Getting Ready for the Week

Normally I would say the Sunday evening ritual of getting ready for the week is a pain in the back side but this is the first Sunday in all of our school years we have not had to find homework, re-read something, or sign papers to go back to school. WOW what a change this has been. I was probably a really good thing since it was very hot today. We reached about 90 degrees outside at our house and it was muggy. There is also a haze laying over the area due to a forest fire northwest of here.

We were really lazy today due to the heat, even the kids were just tired from it. I am not complaining about the heat so much as marvelling in the wonderful weather. Where we lived for the last 10 years I honestly think the last good hot summer we had was about 4-5 years ago. Don't get me wrong we had some great days throughout the summer but the long term good days did not happen as regularly as they do inland.

I did do some getting ready for the week by double checking schedules to see who was doing what tomorrow and if there was anything extra to do. Hoping some of our momentum from last week will be sticking with us this week as well. I really think it helps they are choosing when they do certain subjects. I also think it is good that we will not be starting composition until next week. My dear son dispises writing especially the physical act of writing.

Ready to go read my book and enjoy some mom time.

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Week of Homeschooling

WOW!!! We have completed the first week of our homeschooling adventure and what a week it has been. We have some ups and downs as well as the normal confusion following any school break. I can see certain subjects that my oldest child has missed in his education since he was a late reader needing extra help on a regular basis. So we struggle a bit with grammar but he has figured out quickly to do it quickly and get it out of the way and on with better subjects. I think he is really liking the options.

My dear darling daughter on the other hand sometimes seems to have the attention span of a gnat. My oh my...we had a lesson where she decided to play around more than actually work so I told her that I really do not care how long it takes her to finish the lesson she will only get 1 hours worth of credit for it. She looked at me like I have grown 2 heads. By the end of the day when brother had been finished for an hour and she was still working, maybe that did the trick.

Couple of other points came to focus when reading the wording in their lessons, it is not the same that they are used to so we hit a challenge. After a bit of rereading I explained that when you see that word this is what they want to know. This came up once for both of the kids but in different subjects.

On a better note Science is a hit with both kids, as is US History. My son also discovered that he loves the vocabulary. The vocab unit is on prefixes of uni-, bi-, mono-, he had no idea these were based on Latin and Greek words and then how many different words you can make with these prefixes. I love seeing the excitement in him for learning. He has also discovered Literature and he is loving the reading as well as the discussion questions afterwards. WOW...what a change!

This has been an awesome week and none of us can wait to see what next week has to bring.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of School

Well our First Day of School proved to be very interesting. We were all set, got up on time, had my coffee and a friend called to say that they were in the hospital having a baby with their 18 year old daughter, my suedo-niece. So the younger kids do not start school until tomorrow in the public school so they needed to be picked up. So we went and picked them up and started breakfast.

I alternated kids and their class introductions while the others were playing xbox and then it was time for a break for ALL of us. Off to the lake, yep you guessed it, PE for two hours. They never came out of the water until I begged them to. I got some relaxation time in and read some of my book.

Finally, we made it back to the house and some more introductions. Then the ice cream truck came through the neighborhood so off we went and had a treat with some basic math added in. Everything is a lesson. Tonight the kids are watching the History Channel and something about WWII, yep we got some history too. This weekend my son found a show about PT-109 and is excited for more history.

I forgot to take some pictures of today but tomorrow when we really get into the thick of some lessons I will take some pictures. We had a great day! By the way we ended up with a "great-nephew" weighing 8 lbs. 5 oz. and 21" long. What a very blessed day!

Monday, September 5, 2011

School Days

School Days are upon us now. Tomorrow we start schooling, what an adventure that could be. I think we are all excited to see the shape that school will be taking here at home as well as to just start a more regular routine.

Lesson plans for tomorrow will be the introductory lessons for most subjects. My 7th grader has to answer a question every week from his teach but the kicker is these have to be meaningful responses with complete sentences. I want to laugh but only because he really does not like to write but maybe since the answer is submitted in an email it might make things easier for him.

I think we will break in the middle of the day for lunch and PE at the park. Give them a bit to swim and burn off some extra energy then carry on with clearer heads ready to work.

I hope my plan works!

Friday, September 2, 2011


So I have recently heard that I am not homeschooling my children since they are enrolled in a public school virtual academy. I have to say, I beg a difference with those statements.

I have chosen to teach my children at home for their benefit not for my own. I also believe there is A LOT of great teachers and great schools throughout the public school system and I believe that we have moved to one of those districts. My 7th grader is easily distracted and needs a bit more one-on-one attention. My 5th grader, on the other hand, needs to feel successful and get a little "push" now and then. For these reasons we have decided to give home-based schooling a chance.

We are using WAVA-Washington Virtual Academy, which provides the k12 curriculum. I feel fortunate I did not have to find and purchase the variety of subjects which were sent to us. For every subject there is a teaching or learning coach guide and a students guide, not much different from a brick and mortar school. We will be having lessons in math, language arts, literature, spelling for the 5th grader, history, science, art as well as PE (lessons are my job here), not to mention the study island site they will be working in once a week, as well as a success skills once a week. That is a lot of subjects as well as the ton of materials we received.

I have spent the last 2 weeks finding all the bookshelves we will be needing as well as purchasing the basics of school supplies to set up our class space. We now have tables, chairs, computers, and everything we need to get started. I get to plan our field trips to many places of interest as well as a few fun places. We can take our schooling with us to the doctors office. I can even use a trip to the grocery store as educational.

I will probably miss the days of taking the kids to school and being free to run errands alone as well as the first day of school breakfast out that hubby and I would enjoy, but I am only limited by my own thoughts and ideas as long as we are making appropriate progress we are good to go. We have the benefit of a certified teacher for additional questions as well as to touch base with weekly, a homeroom teacher.

School starts on Tuesday and we have chores to get done before then.
 These are the shelves of books and materials we received.
Here is my darling daughter admiring the globe she found at a garage sale.
She is sitting in her chair at one of the school tables we found at the state surplus sale.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Middle of the Week

Wednesday in many circles is known as hump day but we usually just call it the middle of the week since it truly is the middle. What a crazy day too. Hubby and I left the house before 8:30 AM...yes AM, to go to his VA appointment and to see the benefits specialist. We saw the benefit specialist first and there was a huge relief. During the meeting with her the kids call to say the US Government called but we didn't answer. My dear daughter wasn't sure why the government would be calling us. I explained that the VA was part of the government, her comment, "oh I thought the VA was American." Yep that's my girl. Finally, it turned out they needed to cancel my hubby's appointment for 10:30 am...not happy. This is 2 appointments, back-to-back, this provider has cancelled after we arrived at the Medical Center.

VA Facilities as well as the care being provided, has improved greatly in the last 5 years or so but the cancelling of appointments irritates me, especially when patients need to be seen at times. My hubby has severe Combat Related PTSD and there are days which prove to be very challenging not just for him but for the whole family in general. He does the best in his own environment but sometimes we venture out and we make sure one of us is always with him and he usually knows the best places to go to decompress when the stores start to get to him. So it was the doctor to regulate the PTSD meds who cancelled these last 2 appointments. Ok I will finish with this rant for the time being.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Many times Monday's are just crazy with the hustle and bustle of regular life but honestly I don't feel like we have a regular life just yet. Not sure we will have a regular life for quite a while either. With our choice to home school the kids we know we will be changing the look of school as well as the feel of school. Hard to imagine sometimes that I am really excited to get started. In many ways we all are excited to get school going.

Monday has kind of turned into library day and we all go usually in the afternoon. Much to my darling son's dismay, I MADE him check out a book. He is 13 and reading has been a struggle for him up until the last few years so it is not his favorite subject. He likes books but not the act of reading. My daughter is 10 and I think she checked out as many books. She LOVES to read and will read almost anything around. I am amazed at how different the kids are in some respects as well as how alike they are in others. They continue to make us laugh daily.

I am hoping to keep Mondays as our library day throughout the school year for the pure enjoyment of going to the library. I lucked out though today and found a book on Excel since there is an Excel problem that is kicking my backside. Not sure if the book I found is the right help book but I will give it a try. The funny thing is it is not even my problem as much as my mom's but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to tell her to do it to complete her task and that alone is enough to drive me nuts.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Life and Other Fun Things

Been a hectic week which will follow up with another one, but that is life. Hard to believe the weather that we have been having. I honestly do not remember a summer that I haven't been without a sweatshirt by my side. I have worn my sweatshirt, since moving from the beach, less than 5 times. I really love summer.

We have been to the lake everyday for the past week which means I have finished my book and am ready for a new one.

We are working on another adventure this fall, home based schooling using K12. We are really excited and have been working on getting our space set up for school. Most of the kids' materials have arrived and we found some great computer tables at our state surplus store for only $10, love those bargains.

As we get closer to school beginning, September 6th, I will be writing more about our adventures in homeschooling and how that is working out for all of us.

Pizza is in the oven so I will finish up here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Life Gets Messy

You know how there are these commercials talking about life getting messy...boy are they right. Life gets messy alright. Sometimes the mess can be easily swept up and put back in in original spot other times you can sweep in under the carpet and put it on ignore. But there are times life's mess smacks you flat in the head so you cannot ignore it...AT ALL!

Life seems to have gotten a little messy over the weekend. Tried to quickly ease things over, but the next day it came out again only the mess got bigger. Really?!?! Like someone walking in the middle of your swept up pile in the kitchen. The next thing the mess gets so large it threatens to take over and cannot be ignored any has to be dealt with. WOW!!! Another fine mess.

So now the weekend is over, things have calmed down but there is still the lingering question in the back of my it really over or will everything come back to smack me in the head?!?! I sure hope not and hopefully things will be put back in their proper place.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Little More Info

It was pointed out to me that I had left out a few other details when talking about our move and some of the circumstances.

We had known for about 4 months that we were about to make a change in our lives. We had a desire to move from where we had lived for almost 10 years and start a new chapter in our lives. Amazingly enough we had found what we believed was the perfect opportunity to meet our immediate change as well as to facilitate some of our future goals. The move was about 300 miles away and located in the middle of our state. We were getting pretty excited and then about 5 days before we were to leave they changed their minds...and there we were ready to move and no place to go.

I have learned a few things over the past 2 months, never assume ANYTHING, EVER, and to not just settle for an OK when you need more than that. We almost settled for the first house we looked at but we would not have been as happy I am sure, we also may have missed a valuable lesson.

We started our house search July 1st more or less. I searched craigslist everyday for rentals and we drove so many miles to look at so many houses. We all fell in love with a house almost right away but the people never returned our calls after the first meeting. We were bummed but we kept on looking. We found a really cool old farm house it still had the original wood cook stove in the kitchen for heat. There was a little acreage to go with it and also BATS!!! The owner wanted to keep the bats so there were less bugs...REALLY??? What about the bat poop??? The thought of the bats just about did me in but being chased by one was the last straw. I was chased through the living room into the kitchen, out onto the porch where I finally just jumped off. Yep that was not the house for us!

Needless to say we did not settle on a house but kept up the search until we finally found a great house in a great neighborhood.

The Weekend

Ah the weekend is here. Took the kids to the lake yesterday but it was rather windy so they only swam about an hour but they were still happy to be swimming. We went to the library after they changed clothes. All in all it was an easy day.

Last night I was checking for Garage Sales, we love to go to garage sales even the kids. I found 6 good sales within a 2 mile radius of the house which will make it easier. I have a list and have double checked on mapquest all of the addresses so I know where they all are...just in case. It is not that I get lost or anything like that but we do tend to spend a lot of quality time in the car after a wrong turn.

This afternoon I hope to get the new dishes washed and all the boxes broken down and stacked correctly in the garage. Funny when I ask the kids to put something in the garage I swear they just open the door and throw it in and let it stay where ever it lands, but I guess we have all done that as kids.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Starting a New Life

Hard to believe that I have not updated my primary blog in 3 months...but so much has happened in that time. To start with in April my dear husband FINALLY went to the VA for his service connected issues, which resulted in multiple medications and we was not able to really work on the medications that were prescribed. At this point hubby was working and I was not, which is really unusual for me but it was working for us up until this point in time. I tried to look for work but the economy caused problems the world over and we lived in one of the poorest counties in the State of Washington.

Mid June we HAD to move, there were no options left, but without a steady income coming in what do you do? The kids had their last day of school and then I took them to visit with my sister, 1 1/2 hrs away. I came back and decided to try called the VA Social Work department and I had a call back within 24 hrs. The VA actually has a Veterans Homeless Prevention Program and there are programs to assist families in crisis. When I say crisis I am referring to losing their home, jobs, utilities shut off and such.

We packed up our home into a U-Haul and put everything into a storage unit then we met with the social worker and a VA Liasian with Catholic Community Services in Thurston County. Best news yet, they could and would help us...I cried. I was ready to leave my kids with my sister for the whole summer so they would not have to be troubled with worry and the feeling of hopelessness that was overwhelming so many times.

We were and are very blessed with wonderful people in our life. One of the guys that my husband serviced with offered us a place to stay while looking for a house but if not for that I have no idea what we would have truly done and I really do not want to ever find our first hand. So here we are, me, my hubby and our two kids, not to mention the beagle living in a converted basement and seven other people in the same house. I can certainly see why I only have 2 kids. LOL Overall it was not a bad experience and I was so very grateful to have my kids somewhere safe and with people that do love them. I have no idea what I would have done without our oldest friends...may I never have to find out.

Well it took a month to find a house that fit into the program guidelines for us and then we finally were able to move in and we have been here for 3 weeks. I can honestly tell everyone that a night does not pass that I thank God for EVERYTHING both the good and the bad.

There is some irony to this misadventure that we have just been through...for the last 4 years my hubby and I have been developing the idea of a farm or ranch project that would create homes and some training possibilities for Veterans and their families on the verge of homelessness. The statistics are amazing and we were about to join those ever growing numbers. After all is said and done we have found people that believe in our project and want to help us make it happen. So many blessings!

So here we are enjoying the comfort of a new home with the help of others because we finally admitted that we needed some help. Sometimes that is all that it takes is admitting there is a need but the hardest thing in the world to do is to actually ASK for help and that is the only way that is comes, by ASKING!