Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Garden trip 2011

We left Friday night to go visit family in Garden. The trip was short, but sweet. It was filled with good conversation, laughter, pretty skies, family, and fun.  Day one was a visit to my sister's house so the cousins could play.  We also got to go eat at my favorite restaurant, El Zarape.  Sunday was church and then a yummy supper with Jeff's family, aunt, uncle, and cousins.  Sunday afternoon, my mother-in-law, the girls, and I met up with my sister and the cousins at the big pool.  We had a blast.  It sure has changed since I last went to the big pool.  They now have water slides.  My sister and I had a ball having contests to see who could get out of their slide the fastest.  Monday we traveled back.  The girls traveled very well.  I have the best kids!

One of the few things I miss about Garden...the pretty sunsets!
These clouds were formed into perfect stripes. It was really neat!
I can't believe we got them to hold still for this.
These two are buds!
Baby Derek is a Mama's boy, but boy is he cute!
My mother has a grandkid "angel" wall and has been pestering me to get Bren's angle pic.  So I borrowed my sister's angel wings and got it done while at her house.  Turned out good I think.
Yes, I have advanced to granny skirts for swim wear.  Oh well.
My AWESOME mother in law.  Such a blessing!
Next trip....romantic get away with the hubs to Chicago over the 4th.  Can't wait.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Jumping and fancy moves

All of you have kids know that there are just times when they crack you up.  It all started with Bren trying to show her Daddy that she is starting to jump.  She's still got a long ways to go, but it's a start anyways. 

Next thing we know, they're both trying to show all kinds of fancy moves.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Last Sunday we had the pleasure of attending a community event at a local church.  Our friends and neighbors Tami and Bo invited us.  Jeff was out of town so it was just the girls and I.  EVERYTHING was free. We ate lunch for free, had some sweet treats for free, and participated in all activities for free.  The girls got to try cotton candy for the first time.  Kadyn was a fan, Bren not so much.  She spit it out.  I think the texture was too weird for her.  There was a TON of people there.  There were carnival-like rides, carnival-like games, bouncy houses, a game show, horses to ride, a fish pool to fish in, a rock wall to climb, a bungee cord thingy, face painting, balloon animals, and plenty of stuff we never made it too.  There was so much to do it was almost overwhelming.  The girls had  BALL.   

When we entered the gates they gave us a wrist band with at time on it.  The time on our bands was when  we were allowed to enter some huge tents and pick out anything we wanted for FREE.  By the the time I got to the tent, it was all picked over, but I really didn't mind.  We had fun anyways.  Kadyn even got to go into a children's tent and pick out something.  She came out with a whole bunch of bracelets.  The items in these tents were donated from the community.  There was anything from washer and dryers to little nick nacks.  Some of the items were even new and they were all FREE.  I saw one man come out with a new flat screen TV.  It was almost like a big garage sale, without the sale part.  Really phenomenal and such a blessing to the community.

Anyhow, here are some pics of the girls enjoying the great event:
Bren cried after every single activity.  She didn't want to leave to go to the next one, she had so much fun at each and everyone.  Probably her favorite though, was the horses.  Both girls had never been fishing before so it was pretty neat for them to get to fish and both catch one too.  The man even let them pet the fish.  Bren was cracking me up during lunch because she kept hiking up her dress to check out how big her tummy was getting after that big hot dog. I had to remind her that it wasn't very lady like to lift her skirt.  I find so much joy watching my girls do fun and exciting things. I knew I was making some lifelong memories, especially since the cotton candy and fishing were firsts for them. I only wish Jeff could've been there to share in the fun of it all.  I know he would've delighted in watching the girls enjoying themselves too.  However, he had a good time on his man trip in Kentucky at a music festival.  Now I sit here and wonder, when is it my turn to have a woman trip? LOL.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New little gal

Here in about 3 weeks I will be starting a new little gal at daycare.   When I say new I mean new.  She will be 8 weeks old then.  Her parents are just lovely and she is a doll.  Mom says she is a real easy baby.  Even though infants are a little more hands on than I like, this should be a walk in the park compared to what I  was dealing with before.  I'm excited to be adding another little girl and to be able to snuggle an infant again. 

I will casually look for another child, but I'm not really in a hurry until Kadyn goes to school.  Four just seems to be my number.  I would like to find someone a little older so my little guy has a buddy closer to his age.  He can play with Bren, but there is still a big enough of an age gap, that it won't be quite as fulfilling for him as when Kadyn is around.  We shall see.

Did it again!

We hatched another brown moth out of a cocoon!  What a let down.  Oh well.  Kadyn enjoyed it and it's always fun seeing the cycle of life.

Beds, Garden, Birthday, and Pool

I decided it was time the other day to switch Bren to a big girl bed.  When we bought Kadyn's bed, we decided to get bunkbeds just in case we had three kids and needed the girls to double up in a room.  As it turns out, we aren't having three kids, but the girls want to double up anyways. This made made me happy as it freed up Bren's old room.  Now I am in the process of making it into a playroom which we desperately needed upstairs. They were SOOOO excited about the beds.  Once we got them assembled they played in them all day.

Bren was sad that she had to go to bed in her crib while we waiting on her new mattress to show up.  Last night was her first night in the bunkbed.  She got out of it three times.  At one point she wanted to go back to her crib (which was already dissassembled).  I think it was hard for her to fall asleep in a new room and new bed.  She finally went down, so I think after a couple more nights she will be fully adjusted.

Bren in her crib for the LAST time.
Bren first night in her new bed

Look of sheer happiness that she gets the top bunk.
Both girls first night together
Jeff built me a planter box on the side of the house.  You can't tell from the picture but our lot is very sloped and ROCKY.  It took him a couple weekends to get done, but it looks great.  I plan on putting a tomatoe plant and cantaloupe in this box. He is going to make me another probably next fall.  He filled it with topsoil and a little cow manure.  Unfortunately, the girls couldn't keep their mitts off of it.  Jeff came in and said, "Don't freak out but the girls played in cow poop."  Straight to the bathtub they went.  They sure did have a ball "helping" Dada and just being outside with him.

Jeff had his 33rd birthday last Friday.  We had plans to go to the go-kart track and out to eat, but the rainy weather didn't accommodate those plans.  We settled for BBQ and a little shopping at the landing.  We darted from store to store in the rain, but it was still fun.  Jeff had Dr. Pepper brisquit and I had fried catfish sticks.  Here we are having some yummy BBQ.

Last week we got to get the baby pool out.  It was hot and sticky for a couple days.  You would never have believed it though judging on the weather we are having now.  Brrrrr!  Last night it got down in the 30's.  Crazy weather.  Needless to say, I will be waiting to plant my garden on the side of the house.  Anyhoo....the girls were SOOO exctied to break out the baby pool and Bren cried when we put it away for the night.
I love how it entertains them for hours so I can sit in the garage and study for my praxis.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Training your tastebuds

A couple months ago I switched to rice milk.  It was a little experiment to try to help clear up my complexion; I was trying to cut down on dairy in m diet.  I've tried rice milk before, but never cared for the taste.  It was tolerable as long as it was in cereal.  This time I just made myself drink it right out of a glass. Over time the taste didn't seem as weird, and I actually started to like it.  The other day I ran out of rice milk and poured a glass of skim cow's milk.  I was very surprised that it tasted yucky to me.  I used to LOVE cow's milk.

I've always been a stickler with my children about trying new foods.  When they are little they would turn their noses up at just about half of the food I put in front of them.  I kept persisting though because I hoped their tastebuds would eventually adjust.  I was right.  I have pretty good little eaters and will eat most of what I feed them.

Before I began eating a mostly vegetarian diet, I really didn't care for vegetables.  Now, I crave them.  I find it fascinating that our tastebuds can reject something initially, but over time accept the taste to the point of craving it. 

Suffice it to say, one of my pet peeves is hearing people say they won't eat this or that.  Perhaps there are certain foods that your tastebuds will never acclimate too.  But I would say over all, we can train our tastebuds to eat healthy and anything less is just an excuse.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Studying, studying, and more studying

This may be a bore to read, but it's my life at the moment.

As you know, I have been entertaining the idea of being done at two children and moving forward with the process of getting certified to teach regular elem. ed.  Last week I spent a lot of time researching the steps to achieve that goal.  There are two ways to become endorsed in a different area.  The first is to take a lot of coursework at a college which would require a lot of time and a lot more money.  The second is to renew my KS teacher license (which has expired) and then apply for a MO license.  Missouri has what's called a reciprical licensing agreement with the state of Kansas.  In other words, as long as I have a valid teaching license in the state of KS, I can apply and receive the same license in MO.  Not all states do this. A nice little perk I might say.

So my first step is to get my license to teach in the state of KS renewed.  Since I am no longer in state, this requires that I make a plan of courses I will take to further educate myself and get it approved by a licensure board.  I have begun this process.  Thankfully, since I have a Master's degree I only have to get 120 professional development points rather than 160.  This is equivalent to 2 three credit out courses.  I received my Masters degree from Baker University through an extension campus in KC.  I began to wonder if maybe, just maybe they offered some continuing ed courses online.  I started making some calls and wala!  I am now in the process of picking out my courses to be taken next Fall and submitting my plan to the board.  I'm really hoping it is approved as these are accelerated courses and the most convenient for me and my life right now.  I don't particular care to commute to night courses. I also can't afford to stop running my daycare, put Bren in daycare, and then go to day courses either.

These courses are only 6-8 weeks in length.  If my plan is approved and I take these courses next fall, I can renew my music teaching license in KS by the beginning of next year. This puts me WAY ahead of schedule!

My next step would be to become endorsed to teach regular education at the Elementary level. This requires for me to take a test called the Praxis II Elem. Ed test.  I began researching on what this test entails last week.  There are multiple study aids out there.  I ordered one and skimmed through it last week.

Let me first say that the bulk of the test is being able to identify instructional methods, assessments, and theories as it pertains to student work and subject matter.  Most of the methods and assessments are under fancy names that are hard to remember and there are so many of them it makes your head spin.  This part of the test is multiple choice.  The second part of the test will be essay and can be questions pulled directly from curriculum.  For example, one question on the practice test was as following:

Choose one country or geographic region in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East that
was colonized by Europeans and that achieved its independence after the Second
World War. Write an essay describing the ways in which that country or
geographic region has been affected by European colonialism. Your essay should
address at least two of the following: the economic, cultural, social, or political
legacy of European colonialism.

Can I just say, yuck, yuck, yuck!  History was not my favorite subject in school and elementary school was 21 years ago!  Then there is, of course, all the things you remember the name of but have forgotten the details too like the 6 trait writing process, number operations, scientific process, etc.  I'm not saying I  don't enjoy all these things, I'm just saying it's been awhile and the thought of one random tidbit of these things being on the test intimidates me just a bit.  I used to make mostly straight A's in school, so the info has to be in that brain of mine somewhere, I just need to figure out where it all went.  Basically I have to be prepared to answer a question about any given material in any given subject matter that may be covered in the course of education grades 1-6.  I feel like I'm preparing myself to be on that show....what's it called...."Are you smarter than a 5th grader."
I will be studying for months on end for this one.  It's no cheap feat either.  In addition to all the study materials, the test alone is a $120 each try.  That's a lot of pressure for this working Mama!  Then if I don't pass I have this self inflicted feeling that people will think of me as incompetent or....stupid.  What's that saying, "If you can't do.....teach"  or something like that.  I think there's this misconception that becoming a teacher is easy.  It's really not as easy of a process as one might think.  I know one person that had to take his professional learning test 3 times to pass.

So anyways....I will have  my work cut out for me this next year.  So if you need me, start looking for the woman behind the books.  I'll probably have my nose deep inside of one.  Excited about this next step in my life, and very, very nervous too.  Wishing I had the chance to student teach in the regular classroom so I was more prepared. Set me in front of a group of little kids with stringed instruments, no problem.  Set me in front of class of kids who need to learn to Read, Math, Science, Social studies, English.....scary, but only because I've never done it before.  I know I'm very capable, just unfamiliar territory for me. But I'm getting ahead of myself.  First things first....study, study, study and then test.  What will be will be.    

Friday, May 6, 2011

Crazy bird!

This morning I awoke to scratching and clunking of claws, wings, and bird feet against my window pane.  I just thought, "Stupid bird.  I guess she learned her lesson."  I guessed wrong.  Still to this moment that bird has been going from window to window trying to get in.  The only windows she hasn't tried to get in are the windows in the front, but we were never in those rooms.  She has tried to get in so many times I lost count.  Sometimes she'll even hang onto the screen and stare at us.   It's almost like she follows us from room to room.  Bizarre.

We have a window film on our windows to help block heat and cold from coming in.  It is reflective.  At first I thought maybe she saw her own reflection or the reflection of the trees and that is what was causing her to go for the windows. However, when we changed rooms and she mysteriously went to the window of the room we were in I wondered.  I stepped out and yelled at her, she just squacked back and flew off for half and hour.  Since then she has been doing this off and on all day.  Crazy bird!  Proof is in the pictures.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Easter 2011

A little late, but better late than never.  Easter this year was nice...rainy, but nice.  In keeping with our tradition the past 5 years, the Bilberry side of the family drove up to celebrate it with us.  Bama, Baba, Uncle Jason and his roomate were all here to enjoy the festivities. 

There was egg dying.
There was plenty of goofing around.
There was napping, and not napping.
There were pretty Easter dresses on pretty little girls.
There were Easter family photos.
There was an Easter Egg hunt indoors thanks to the rain.
There were Easter baskets filled with fun goodies. 
There were matching outfits to wear courtesy of the Easter bunny.

There was one excited Easter Girl performing at church to one teary eyed Mama (or maybe a bunch of teary eyed Mamas).

It was a blessed holiday.  Probably my favorite part, though, had to been one evening when Bama, Kadyn, Bren, and I were all sitting in  circle to do our good night prayers.  Kadyn said in her sweet little voice, "....and thank you for giving us your son to die on the cross for our sins."  This was not coached and completely her own prayer from her own thoughts.  I couldn't have been more touched and more proud to know that she gets it.  Despite all the Easter bunny fun, she gets it.  Praise Jesus, he is risen!  It was a teary eyed moment for both me and Bama, that's for sure.  Can't wait to do it all over again next year!