Thursday, January 7, 2021

I Lost My Husband One Year Ago

  I don't know if people still read blogs but sometimes my IG posts are getting too long and hard to read through all the comments.  So I'm back here to share our story and the journey.

I hope to go back an tell more of our story but for now here is a summary of what has happened.

Thought I had my hands full with 3 children but after a while God kept putting this little girl in my mind and I struggled with trusting Him and indecision over having a 4th for like a year. 

My husband was happy with 3 but He supported that sense that our family wasn't complete and agreed to having a 4th.  

I still struggled to trust and tormented myself with fear and indecision, but ultimately trusted.

We found out we were pregnant with our 4th and were excited.  

9 weeks in I had an ultrasound with no heartbeat.  I ultimately needed to have a D & C procedure because my body would not release the baby on its own.

We tried again when the Dr. said we could and were pregnant again.

We experienced another miscarriage, however after that, turned out to still be pregnant with a baby girl!  We had another beautiful homebirth using the same midwives as last time.  This time Tyler read a doula book and even though he was always a good birth partner, he really stepped up his game and I nicknamed him my Moula (man-doula).

When baby girl was 6 months old, I got the call from my mom that my dad, 7 years into his ALS battle, was starting morphine.  My husband had the baby and I on a flight within 8 hours to get cross country and I was able to get there in time for my dad to lay eyes on his 10th grandbaby for the first time before he became unresponsive. He peacefully passed on 9/11 and we felt relieved for my dad that he was no longer confined to that prison of a body ravaged by ALS.  

As we planned my dad's funeral, my husband Tyler was running a lot and began having pain in his leg that didn't feel like shin splints and so he figured it was a stress fracture from all the running and hiking he was doing and stubbornly refused to pay for an MRI when they can't do anything about it anyways, so when we got home from my dad's funeral, he picked up a bike and started cycling while he tried to limit the stress on his leg.  

November, He had 2 colds back to back that lasted longer than he normally experienced and started wondering if something was wrong with his immune system. Thanksgiving was at the end of the month that year and he felt good on Thanksgiving and made the entire meal like he always did and we decorated for Christmas that night, something we never did before.  We usually waited but for whatever reason we did. the next week He was starting to have a headache and coming home from work early which, if you knew Tyler, was a beast and could normally push through anything.

I had made a dr appointment that was a week or two away because it was hard getting in any sooner the end of the year.  Took him to a massage and the next day discovered awful bruising on his back that had me really alarmed.  Things started to go south quick and took him to a walk in clinic rather than wait for that appointment.  We didn't expect it to be anything awful, but the next day he went from bad to worse, he was cold but sweating profusely, I really got scared, reminded me of my dad as we were by his side the night he slipped away.  I called them to rush his lab results.  They called back and said his blood cell count was high and to go to the ER, and that he likely had leukemia. 

He went to the ER on Dec 12, (speaking of beast mode he actually was trying to go into the office that morning as he was concerned about finishing a project but I wouldn't let him...and if you know me I rarely would stand in someone's way) the ER doctor confirmed the Leukemia diagnosis. Next day transferred to Cancer Center and further testing narrowed down to ALL with the Philadelphia Chromosome.  I plan to share more details about this time later, but for now the short story is, he began Chemo, had a bad feeling about it, he felt like something bad was going to happen and rightly so, an hour or so into being hooked up to his first treatment he suffered a devastating brain bleed as I watched hospital staff pour into the room and try to revive him.  He was shocked and intubated and then on life support for 3 days which was removed December 23, 2019.  He was a strong, successful, amazing father and husband and only 36.

This Christmas marked our one year as a family without him with us.  It's still hard to fathom all that happened and that he's really gone.  For months the kids and I felt like he was on a work trip and would be walking in the door any moment, but as the year pressed on despite our resistance, the reality settles in more and more.  Covid and everything else in 2020 just felt like...well why not? Our world already didn't make sense anymore losing Tyler going into all that, it was hard to even be phased by it and other times it just compounded the overwhelm of life without Tyler.  But with all that, one of the last things I said to the ICU nurse as she held my hand near the end as I faced the impossible was "I still believe God is good." And a year later, despite the highs and lows, I still believe that God is good...even more so. 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Homeschool Science with Free Videos

I haven't posted much this last year or so, a lot of life going on around here with pregnancy loss and then pregnancy and keeping up with homeschooling 3 kids and all their activities while pregnant.  This year we decided to try The Good and The Beautiful for LA and History and are enjoying it and continued with the next books in Sassafrass Science and stuck with CTC math.  That's the main stuff.  However, I have really struggled with my motivation to do science.  The chapters feel long, I didn't feel like we were getting a ton out of the SCIDAT log kids only like the story but they logbooks became a big chore, science felt very time consuming and even though I kept wanting to love it, my kids weren't retaining what they had learned very well.  Not to put that against the science curriculum it may just be that my kids learn better through different methods.  But I started to feel like it wasn't worth the time when after all the time and effort in science and they couldn't recall much from it later on, yet they could offload detailed facts about things they had learned from a wildkratts episode they had watched a year ago or from watching the Planet Earth and Life series as a family.

With a preschooler and a baby about to join us, I want to be intentional about how we manage our time and learning.  The more my kids would randomly talk about in depth facts from science related videos and documentaries they watched a long time ago, but couldn't remember what we had studied in our homeschool time, it didn't feel like a good investment of our time.  The more I thought about this the more I figured if my kids retain information so much better from videos rather than a living book with notebooking (as much as I love the idea of that) then I should just have them do science learning through videos and then let it be delight directed learning from there.  So if they watch a video on something and they get excited about it, we can look up more on it, watch more videos, look up experiments or demonstrations they can watch and or do.  So this is a compilation of some resources for approaching science in a more unschool-relaxed way of learning that I think we are going to try.  I haven't previewed many of these but saving the links here for myself and anyone else that wants to quickly find free videos for science topics and unit studies.  This will be an ongoing compilation, if you know of any great resources to add please comment and share!  from here you can do notebooking, project based learning, lapbooking or simply narration or as enrichment to go with your packaged science program...there are so many ways to enjoy learning and it's important we don't get stuck within the security blanket of a purchased curriculum product for everything we do,  Sometimes it's easier to just have that open and go curriculum and I totally appreciate that, but we don't have to be hostage to certain products or methods of learning and teaching every subject either.  I'm curious to see how it goes just watching videos, then having the encyclopedia handy for the kids to look and then seeing where things go from there.


Operation Ouch - The Amazing Human Body on YouTube
Tongue, How Babies Grow, Eardrum, Breathing, Toxins in Wee, Kidneys, Spinal Cord, Energy, Bone Marrow, Poo. Body Bacteria, Plaque, Skin, The Heart, Guts, Couching, Blood Vessels, Flouresence, Red Blood Cells, Digestions, Wrinkly Skin, Bacteria Breath, Epiglottis, Vocal Chords, Vomit, Enzymes, Strength, Hormones, Fueling the Body, The Eye Lense, The Diaphragm, The Stomach, Brain, Pain Receptors, Sneezing, Diarrhea, and Nastogastric Tube.

Operation Ouch - The Endocrine System
Muscles, Energy and Adrenaline, How Tall Are You, Sleep, Insulin

Operation Ouch - The Human Head
Ear Injuries, Tongue, Head and Heachaches, Snotty Noses, Throat, Mouth, Excellent Ears, Getting Hairy, Teeth and Braces, Lip Injuries, Incredible Eyes, Contagious Yawning.

Operation Ouch - The Immune System
Bacteria and Infections, Alarming Allergies, Frightful Verrucas

Operation Ouch - The Nervous System
NERVES, Spine, Brain

Operation Ouch - Cardiovascular System
Blood, Blood Pressure, Pumping Hearts

Operation Ouch - Human Skin
Top 5 gruesome cuts (skip if you don't want to see gruesome cuts), Belmishes, Skin, Smelly Sweat, Sore Scars, Stretch Marks, Deep cuts and wounds, Bruises and blisters, Birthmarks, Burns and Skin Grafts

Operation Ouch - The Skeletal System
fingers and toes, Sprains, Broken Bones, Skeletons, Ankle, Wrist, Breaking Bones, Joints and Skeletal System, Lively Legs, Fantastic Fingers, Fixing Feet, Dislocations, Broken Arms, Knobby Knees, Tending to the Toes.

ENERGY- Heat - Light - Sound

Energy | The Dr. Binocs Show

Here Comes the Sun: Crash Course Kids

Three Methods of Heat Transfer

Light - 3 characteristics of light - CC memory song Reflection, Refraction, Spectrum

free on amazon prime


The Living Sea


Free School Earth Science playlist
3 states of matter, landforms, bodies of water, volcanoes, astronomy and space, rock cycle, clouds, oceans, glaciers, water cycle, snow, how leaves change color, thunder and lightening, caves, eclipse, why is sky blue, erosion, giant causeway, leap year.


Free School Astronomy and space for Children - Playlist
solar system, astronomy and space, phases of the moon, the sun, dwarf planets, milky way, solar eclipse, nebula, apollo 11, about the moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Neptune, Myth of Orion, Aurora Borealis, Cassiopeia, Lunar Eclipse, Scorpius, Leo, Pluto not a Planet anymore, Ceres, Light Years, Taurus

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Wicker Chair Makeover

I snagged these wicker chairs for ├át a local thrift store going out of business so...they were not very expensive...maybe I paid $20 for both..I don't remember exactly as it was last year.  But I wanted to spray paint them and have had the paint in the cupboard and finally today got around to doing it after cancelling pool plans due to my youngest having a nasty cold after a short beach trip.  Today is the definition of a lazy summer day!  

I mean....look at this kiddo...chillin' in the rocks listening to music and slowly burying himself in rocks.  He is also the sick one so just glad he's just hanging out and relaxed.

Here is the before of my wicker chairs.

Pretty worn.  I had picked out this Stone Gray color...and as I was about to start I did what I always do, second guess myself and almost decide to leave the chairs alone.  But I pushed through my little moment of doubt and in no time, had this, too late to change my mind now.

After picture of thrift store wicker chairs.

My 8 year old came out and asked why I chose that color...good question son...I just happened to like it while standing in the spray paint aisle...but he did say he thought the chairs looked better before...what do you think?  

The great thing about spray painting wicker chairs is that it a super easy thing to do and can easily be changed.
The black chairs are what's left of my bistro chairs with the plastic wicker that disintegrated and I ripped most of it off and just use the metal frame with a cushion. works.  I have never really splurged on furniture yet other than our bed, but we didn't get the set, just the maybe one day I will post some night stands I figure out for our room.  I have had other projects going on this year keeping me busy, including a complete boat interior makeover that we spend about all of January working on a bit each weekend. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Charleston, SC Weekend Trip

Last weekend we spent the weekend in Charleston, SC for JJ's gymnastics meet.  Us gym moms don't always enjoy traveling to meets, but this is one I don't mind because I LOVE Charleston!  This was my 3rd or 4th time to this city and it doesn't get old for me, and it's not just me...the kids can walk and explore and look at all the art in all the galleries as much as I can (well....almost!)  But it is fun when we can have a fun weekend together as a family and root for our girl at the end of it as she does her thing.  It was short and sweet but the memories last a lifetime :)  Here is a little video I made from our trip, some of the footage was taken by my 7 year old whom we just gave our old FLIP video recorder to that we never used anymore and he is super excited about it...he doesn't have an ipad or iphone so this is his device to play with :)

Now I will admit we were all pretty wiped on Monday as my hubby had to get to the airport that day so we drove home late Sunday night.  It was actually peaceful and nice and felt relatively fast until we stopped for gas about 40 minutes from home and the four year old was NOT happy the rest of the way home after getting woken up.  But feeling refreshed from the beautiful city of Charleston and spending time in all the galleries and looking into the courtyards as we walked down the residential streets, I came home feeling inspired and got to work doing some outdoor projects and also looking forward to a day soon that the kids and I can all paint together.  As we explored each gallery, I told the kids to find their favorite painting in each one and then they showed the rest of us and what they liked about it.  Studied some of the technique and what we observed about the paintings and told the kids to take mental notes to get ideas of something they might want to paint and how they might want to incorporate some of the neat styles and ideas they picked out and do it in their own way.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Weekend Girls Gymnastics Trip

This was from one of my daughter's recent meets which was like a little weekend girls trip!  We had a great time and I introduced JJ to No Doubt after she played the Roly Roly song for me...She thought I was crazy rocking out to some good ol' Gwen but I think deep down she knew Spider Webs was a way cooler song than Roly Roly.  I mean...come on...don't you agree?  Spider Webs and Roly Roly aren't even in the same league!




After discussing it she did agree that the Roly Roly song is pretty dumb but she still thought I was crazy with my No Doubt playlist.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Chores and Allowance - Kids Bank Accounts

Kids Bank Accounts

There are a lot of opinions out there on chores and allowance, some are against tying allowance to chores as that is an expected part of family life. Others say yes, you should tie work to pay to teach the value of work, others say no allowance period, teach obedience.  As parents, we can never do anything right. With such varied opinions put out to us about every minute detail of child rearing and all of it contradictory, at some point you have to just do what you think makes sense and not put so much weight onto every decision as if it's life or death and not worry what other people think.  And If you realize you made a mistake, it's not a OK if you change your mind later...pray, live, learn, adjust.

In the attempt to give our kids some life skills, we wanted them to earn some money to learn how to save and manage it, to become aware of the cost of things.  So our first approach came from the book Life Skills for Kids.  I made a chart with different responsibilities for each child each day and they got $0.05 per item accomplished. At the end of the week it was added all up and my daughter, who was about 6 or 7, had the ability to earn up to $3.00 a week.

After a while, and a new baby, that system gradually went to the wayside and we didn't really do any allowance or tracking system for chores/responsibilities.

Then we picked it back up with a more casual plan, $5 a week allowance if you do your chores and school with a good attitude and have a clean room by end of week.  If room wasn't clean by end of week, no allowance.  But the chores were based on whatever I decided to ask them to do and while they did do what I asked, I wasn't consistently having them do things for me, I would forget.  When life is busy, it's easy for me to get in the habit of doing everything myself and not even think to delegate certain jobs to the kids.  I kept track of their allowance on my notes app on my iPhone and if they wanted to buy something with their allowance I would subtract from that but my husband grew frustrated with it as it felt haphazard to him and he felt like they maybe weren't learning enough with it, he felt like we were still just buying stuff for them even when I subtracted it out of their allowance.  He also was worried that without a structure of knowing specific responsibilities they would start to expect their allowance without feeling like they needed to earn it and he's big on being a hard worker and not just expecting to have things given to you.  So with his help we created a more structured approach that would give them consistent responsibilities and also teach them about banking and keeping track of their money.

My husband created 2 excel spread sheets.  One with the list of chores for each child with the weeks marked out as far as we could go.  The other excel page is a mock bank account, we decided we will be the bank.  This simplifies things for us too right now from having to open bank accounts and then spend time making actual deposits and such when we can just do it on the excel sheet and be their bank.  On their statement they can see deposits from the weeks they earned allowance as well as withdrawals, debits and their balance.  If they are out with us and decide they want to use their allowance, I can purchase it for them but when we get home I just open the excel file and enter the transaction and it will adjust their balance.  If they want some cash, they can ask me for that and I can give them cash and mark a withdrawal on their statement, adjusting their balance.  We can print out their statement for them at anytime or show them on the computer.

So far the structure is feeling good and working well.  And I'm really appreciating the more consistent help around the house!  Even the little jobs make a difference.  Our youngest who just turned 4 is so proud about doing chores, we were giving his older siblings their chores and he kept begging to know "what am I supposed to do? I want a chores!" When we gave him some chores, he was so thrilled!  Lol I wonder how long that will last for but he is very excited to help right now so I'll take it :). And my oldest whose gotten some bigger jobs she has never done before like vacuuming the upstairs, even if she isn't as enthusiastic as her little brother about it, she still gets a sense of pride from doing it as I have been patient in training her how to do her chores and not overly critical, but trying to be encouraging and appreciative.  I also didn't want to become the barking mom Sargent chore nazi!  

Here is the system we have implemented with my husband being the excel, finance, management guy pretty much being the one who made the all work.

My husband made this Excel doc with their names and chores with the weeks posted so we can keep track for quite a few weeks without having to print out new charts all the time.  If they earned their allowance that week, we check off the week and add their payment to their “bank account” in the other excel sheet.  Only once have our kids not gotten their full allowance and once, our oldest got ½ because she had consistently did most of her chores but she let her room become a huge mess and after multiple reminders never took care of it.

(click on image to make full screen)

Kids Bank Accounts

On the excel doc, even if you aren’t good at equations, you can just use a calculator to keep up the balance and enter it manually. But if you or your husband know how to use excel, then it's super easy.

What I love about our kids bank accounts is that first of all…no hassle of actual bank accounts but it does all the same stuff as a bank account…mom and dad are the bank, This is also nice because it was frustrating when we would be out and the kids would want to buy something with their allowance, yet did not have their allowance then I would have to buy it and keeping track of their allowance was harder.  I kept a running tab on my notes on my phone but when my phone broke I lost all that and it was just not a very good system, they weren’t learning anything with it, as my husband would say, at then end of the day it still felt like we were just buying stuff for them.  They now love seeing their bank statement.  We will print it out for them before we go somewhere so they have it on them to look at when deciding if they want to buy an souvenir on a trip or whatever it is, they look at their statement and see what they have, they see how many weeks/deposits it took to earn a certain amount and are now thinking in terms of…”wow if I buy that, it’s like 3 weeks of chores!” And then will proceed to decide if it’s really worth that.  And for big things they might wish for, it gives them a goal when they can think, well if I make this much every week and save for a whole year, then I’ll have this much and maybe get some birthday money, I can actually buy that.  For example my son wants to buy a kid sized quad…he’s thinking if he saves his money and gets any extra he should be able to buy a good quality used on in 1-2 years and is very focused on that.  My daughter is thinking she wants to get into photography and wants a nice camera, if she saves up for 1-2 years or more, she will be able to buy one and by then maybe actually be better able to learn photography.

Another thing, with allowance, the kids can get a raise each year on their birthdays by 1 dollar (at least so far it’s what we’ve done)  and maybe the chores will change or a more thorough job will be expected.  As the kids have gotten used to their new jobs, they have had their frustrations and complaints, especially if they sweep the floor or vaccum the stairs and say they are done but they missed a good amount obvious areas.  The thing I have found to be key and remind my husband is to not exasperate them but just remind them they are still in training and it will take practice to know how to do the job right without us pointing out what they missed.  I gently remind them it’s ok we don’t expect them to be perfect and we aren’t being mean or critiquing when we show them what needs to be redone but it’s part of the training phase. (mainly with my oldest who is more distractible and more easily frustrated) Sometimes when weeks are busy and they have a lot of their plate (especially our oldest with her gymnastics schedule) I will do her job with her, knowing she has a lot going on, I still want her to find the time and have the responsibility but I will casually work alongside her with another broom or visit with her while she’s putting her laundry away…it also helps her stay focused as she is more like me and can be starting a job and then get distracted.  Or my son with cleaning out the van, I will take a garbage bag out there and be out there with him and help a bit as well but I’m not doing it for him.

The kids still complain about having to do chores some days but I guess I still complain about what I have to do some days too.  I do remind them that I had to do chores as a kid and got no allowance for it, it was just part of being in the family and I think there is value to that as well and since we have started the kids being more responsible, they will help out with other things we ask them to do not on their list without feeling entitled to more allowance every time they have to lift a finger outside of the arranged work.  It’s been like Charlotte Mason promised…

"a mother who instills good habits in her children ensures herself smooth and easy days."

Having the kids help out with these chores has been a game changer.  They don’t make as big of messes now because they know they have to help clean it up, it gives all of us, including me, the structure to stay on top of housework and having them doing their chores makes me more conscious of my own work and if I’m keeping up on it or not.  It has also taught them money management and banking and they are good about saving and spending responsibly as we print out and show them their statements with their deposits, purchases and withdrawals.  And there has been a LOT less annoying conversations of the kids constantly asking me how much money they have or reminding me how much I owe them (Oh how that would get under my skin!) because they know they can just check their "bank statement".  I am so thankful that my husband stepped in to help create a better structure for our chores and allowance, my brain is more abstract and sometimes I just don't think to break it down in the same way he would think to.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

DIY Knee Patches


If you have boys like mine, it only takes about a month for a new pair of jeans to have holy knees.  Today I decided to take the time to start patching them up so they can still wear them.  No point in buying new ones...they look like this so soon anyways.

 If you are a non-professional sewer like me, this a fun way to patch up those jeans and add some personality to them.

Set up Thread...choose a matching or contrasting color for fun.

(wow didn't notice that big fuzzie thing on my thread til I uploaded this pic! lol)

Set on a zig zag stitch (this is as fancy as this machine gets) and not too tight of a stitch length.  You can always test out your stitch on a scrap piece of fabric to get the right size zig zag you would like.

Remove the extra storage compartment to give you a smaller sewing arm because you're going to need to be able to get those little pant legs scrunched up on there and there is not a lot of room to work with. Mine were 3T...The legs were almost too narrow to slide up onto this smaller sewing arm but I had JUST enough room to work with.

Start with one of the holes.

Cut a scrap of fabric that is larger than the hole.  My scraps came from a knit throw blanket I made last year.  I love me a good scrap buster! (Used to host a Scappy Link Party on here years ago for creative scrap buster projects).

Place the patch fabric inside the pant leg and line up with the hole, making sure there is overlap of both materials all the way around.

Pin the fabric in place so it doesn't move and leave you with another hole.

Trim the long threads of the ripped jeans so they don't get caught on your presser foot as you sew...(I forgot to do this on my first patch.)

Slide paint leg up onto sewing arm through the waist of paints.  Careful to make sure everything stays in place and then right above the beginning of the hole, make your first zig zag stitch which will run horizontally across the pant leg.  Make sure to back stitch every time you start and end.  

I did not take the pants off the sewing machine to trim the bottom thread after every stitch.  After completing a row and back-stitching, I would lift the presser foot and turn the need up if it ended in a down position, and pull the pants off slightly to lengthen the thread coming through the needle, trim the thread close to pants leaving a tail (a couple inches long), then slide pants back up to the next area to sew, always pulling the tail thread straight back away from you.  

Work your way down the patch, starting your stitch on the denim part, back stitching to secure the stitch, then sewing across the patch and back stitching when you get to the end. 

You can see my back stitching where the thread appears to be darker/more bold. (if you are newer to your sewing machine and didn't know, back stitch is where you use the reverse button or lever on your machine to sew backwards over the seam you just made...I go back and forth a couple times.  All sewing machines are different so consult your manual if you are unsure of what which button or lever you need to use for back stitching.) 

Keep working your way in rows to secure your patch as you work your way down the pant leg. 

See how scrunched up the jeans are on my machine?  I did have to wrestle it (a little) as I got closer to the bottom of the hole where the jeans narrow.  If your jeans are bigger thank 3T this will be much easier. 

Finish sewing the zig zag rows across the patch. End with a final seam across the bottom of the hole on the denim securing the bottom of the patch fabric to the jeans.

Turn Jeans inside out and trim the threads on the back of the patch and trim away any excess fabric.

Repeat on other pant hole.  Little boys pants have been given a life extension!  You can have fun with the fabric choice, adding some personality to the pants with your patch.  This really was super easy and doesn't require much sewing skill.  As long as you can do basic operations on your machine.  This doesn't have to be perfect (unless you want it to be), just have fun with it, I mean the pants were pretty toast anyways anything is an improvement.

And after patching these pants I realized they are almost too small on him anyways...oh well...but all his hand-me-down jeans from his brother have holes so I will be doing more of this.