Orange Mustache

This is my latest indulgence.  Carrot Juice.

There were days that I would labor over making carrot juice with my kids.  It was partly enjoyable.  There would not be a lot of juice to show from it though.  We do still have our juicer and maybe, just maybe, we will venture into juicing again- but for now, I am buying it at Trader Joe’s already made.  🙂

Back in the day, this would be my indulgence…

I gave up soda in college.  Reasons for quitting, you ask?  Maybe I wanted to lose my freshman 15, maybe it was that I began to have so many cavities, or maybe I began to really consider what I was putting in my body.  Whatever made me cut sodas out, I am so thankful now.

If you’ve never tried carrot juice, I highly recommend it.  It is totally revitalizing.  I do think it is an acquired taste.  Keep trying it, your body will love it way more than any soda you put in it.


All About Them

Julian started middle school at a local Montessori school weeks ago.  After many weeks of contemplation, Julian, Scott and I have decided to pull him out and homeschool.  The school he was enrolled in was fine. His teachers were truly creative, kind and interesting. He made a couple friends that he hopes to keep in touch with via email and such.  He would have done well and probably never complained.

We are a homeschooling family that knows the richness that it brings.  We are choosing homeschooling for JJ for many reasons.  For Julian, homeschooling at this age seems really doable, exciting, unique and full of possibilities.  Scott and I will split the teaching up.  We spent last week gathering the necessary resources that we need to guide him.  We are using most of the same types of materials that we had used previously.  We (Julian, Scott and I) feel great about this decision.  Julian played a major role in the shift and continues to have a wonderful attitude regarding being homeschooled.  His final day at the Montessori school was a a happy one.  He said his classmates were really surprised and a little sad.  His teachers understood and support us fully with our decision.

Madelyn Virginia continues to grow into such a light.  With her unique sense of style and grace, she plays a crucial role within our family.  She loves her fourth grade experience thus far.  She has made several new friends and her new teacher, Aaron, is really great.

Madelyn has started soccer for this fall season.  She has already scored several goals and continues to be quite impressive on the field.  Scott is coaching her team, Luna, again.  I hope to post some clips and pictures from Saturday’s games soon.  

Here’s Madelyn with her friend Zoe (left) and Katherine (right).  They had a project presentation this past week.  They performed on the theme of rocks, but somehow was able to convince their teacher that they should dress up and spray their hair pink and blue.

Kalen continues to live each day to the fullest.  He is still into bugs and critters.  Just last night he found a toad.  He cracks me up the way he holds little critters with such ease and delight.

The days just aren’t long enough for this second grader.  He is so creative and expressive.  He is a hands-on guy that stays extremely busy.  He is playing soccer this season, as well.

Brayden has done well with Kindergarten.  His teacher, Aileen, is so nurturing and just what you would want a Kindergarten teacher to be like.  There have been several mornings that Brady clings tightly to my leg and resists entering into his classroom.  This isn’t because he doesn’t like his class and all that it brings, but I believe it is because he loves being home.  He has made many friends and seems to be mr. popularity when entering the school building each morning.  I hear a lot of, “Hey, Brayden!”  Madelyn’s friends think he is the cutest thing.  I agree totally.

Jasper is totally a part of us now.  He is already growing and adapting to our lifestyle.  He nips a lot.  I have been working with him during the day concerning this.  Jasper is such a great puppy.  We are all trying to do our part in caring for him.  The romantic vision of having a pet has dwindled a bit and the realization of responsibility has set in.  I am his main caregiver and I must say, I am totally in love.  Here’s Jasper sleeping in one of his favorite resting spots.

Taking a Moment

Taking a break and enjoying some good music at Carrboro’s Music Festival this afternoon.  My sweet husband has taken on all six kids and our new puppy for the rest of the afternoon.  I gave him a couple of “are you sure” comments before leaving.  Realizing that he was totally capable and I really needed some time alone, I gathered my things and bolted.

I am sitting at the window at Open Eye, one of our favorite coffee hot spots.  This place is full of live folk music and lots of people.  I sit here at a little two top table with Scott’s laptop full of the urgency to post on this blog, read, think, breathe deep and write.  It is funny, the whole purpose of a mom like me getting out to just relax and enjoy myself is to do just that, relax.  Yet, I feel this need to be super productive and not waste one single minute.  Breathe, Anna, breathe.

Our family has been riding the waves of this season we are in pretty well.  We’ve held on tight through the many transitions that we’ve gone through.  I can’t say our road has been easy.  With the ages and stages of all of our children, life seems so constant, full of good times and challenging ones.

Our charter school kids, Madelyn, Kalen and Brayden just finished up their first quarter.  Their school is a year around school.  They will now have about three weeks off.  It is quite refreshing to be able to take these occasional breaks.  I am excited to have them home with me.  I do miss homeschooling, this break will provide homeschool-like days.

We are still fostering.  Our foster kids (M & S) continue to grow and fall into the rhythm of the our home.  Instead of getting easier, it has gotten increasingly harder.  These two little beauties are very active, mobile, and needy.  They have plenty of us to attend to them and it is a good thing there are so many of us.  They both require services that they receive each week in our home and elsewhere.  It is definitely a full time job carting them to and fro and caring for them.  They are such troopers as they are expected to engage in therapies, doctor checkups, social worker visits, visitations with family members and such.  We take each day as it comes and pray for patience, unconditional love, strength and hope.  We love them and we are thankful that we have and continue to play a part in their story.

Off to read and sip on some yummy freshly brewed white tea.  🙂


All Creatures Great and Small

It is not uncommon to find our kids heads down and fingernails dirt brown looking for critters in nature.  One evening, Kalen and Brayden had rich findings in our front yard. They found a praying mantis, rhino beetle, cicada, and, of course, the toad. Kalen loved the rhino beetle, he took him in a bug catcher container out to eat with us.  I have to say, I never thought of a rhino beetle ever accompanying us to dinner.  With kids, expect the unexpected, right?

Later the beetle was put back on the tree and the rest of the critters were set free as well. It was a fun night of exploring these interesting critters.  I took a few pictures to share.






Meet Jasper

We have added a new member to our family.  Our puppy’s name is Jasper.  He is a Pomapoo, a mix of a teacup toy Poodle and a Pomeranian.  If you know my daughter at all, you’ll know that she has been waiting years for this.  Madelyn has been the picture of patience as she has searched the local animal shelter’s webpage and Craigslist daily for our first family pet.  She has checked out countless books, read Because of Winn-Dixie (a sweet novel about a girl and her dog) with her Dad, and written endearing notes to Scott and me about her desire to have a pet.

Saturday we found out about a college student that had this dear little puppy but didn’t have the time to devote to him.  She thought it better if he had an owner that was home more and had more time to give to him.  Scott and Madelyn went over to visit with him and about an hour later I saw them getting out of the car with a little black ball of fur.  I covered my mouth with surprise and started to get tears in my eyes.  The rest of the kids gathered around with gasps and smiles.  What a memorable day it turned out to be.

Jasper is a joy.  He can be super cuddly and scrappy as well.  We are all actively involved in this puppy business.  He is never alone, except at night and for occasional errands.  He is the cutest little ball of fur that we’ve ever seen.

Madelyn is over the moon with Jasper.  The way she nurtures him and anticipates his needs is so beautiful.

Just a cute word about his name.  Jasper is a boy character in The Five Little Peppers, a book that Madelyn and I are reading.

In the Mirror

When Madelyn looks in the mirror, I hope she sees what I see.

I caught Madelyn the night before last standing on the bathroom counter getting a full view of herself in a dress she was considering wearing the next day at school.  I remember doing this when I was younger.  She is nine now, and she has her own style and taste.  As she fanned the skirt of her dress, twisted and touched her hair, it felt bittersweet to me.  She is growing up, and it is starting to matter to her what she sees in the mirror.

I am reminded to talk with Madelyn more about who she is and not just how she looks.  I often tell her how beautiful I think she is, but I am encouraged today to even more so compliment her character; how she is such a thoughtful friend, how creative she is, and how much I respect her thinking.

As Madelyn’s mother, I must remember also that I am her biggest role model.  How I dress and talk about my own body shapes her thinking.  I know she has seen me look at myself in the mirror.   What messages does she get from that?

Maddie is a free-spirited, happy girl that enjoys life with an open heart and a desire to be unique.  I think she loves picking out clothes and thinking about her next days at school.  She has a natural pull towards art and design.  My hope is that she pursues that interest with confident self-expression.