Thursday, February 26, 2015

Good Deeds

How often do you perform good deeds, or random acts of kindness (RAOK)? I don't do them as often as I used to, but I still squeeze in some good karma from time to time. 

Every once in awhile I will buy coffee for the driver behind me at the Starbucks drive-thru. Who doesn't love a free coffee from time to time? And you never know, you may have just turned their bad day into a good one... or at least a semi-decent one :)

There are times when I am on the road and I see someone panhandling or holding a sign asking for food. I don't always have cash on me but if I have a couple extra bucks or some loose change lying around, I will drop it in their bucket. There were a couple guys at Walmart by the main street holding a sign that said "Cash for Good Karma" or something along those lines. I handed them a $5 bill and wondered how much good karma that would buy me. I tease. I mean, I did wonder that but only in a half hearted, joking kind of way. I dropped some change in a bucket just the other day for "Homeless Kids" here in Hawaii. Do I really know if they are going to use the money for the homeless keiki, no, but it still feels good to feel like I am helping out. It's my good deed no matter what they do with the money. My heart is in the right place. I once gave a homeless man some food I had leftover in my car from our lunch, too. He was very grateful. 

Good deeds don't have to be big. They also don't need to cost you any money. Hold a door open for someone that needs help, or just because they were walking behind you. I helped a lady with a stroller get into the door of the doctor's office while other people just sat and watched her struggle. I offered to take someone's banana peel and throw it away for her because she walked by my house holding it and had awhile to go before ever reaching a garbage can (she was walking to school). I once closed a family's minivan door in the parking lot at Disney World when one of them left it open. I know I hate coming back to my car to find the door wide open because one of my kids forgot to close it, and this was at Disney World. It's not likely they had valuables in there but who knows... minivan mamas usually have some sort of enertainment in their cars for their kids. I would have been pissed to find my kids would be bored in the car for the drive home because we left the door open and someone stole their electronics we left in there ;)

So, get out there and do some good deeds, people. Put a grocery cart back in the cart corral because some idiot couldn't walk the extra five feet to put it away. Hold a door for the elderly, or moms with their hands full, or the random person behind you. Pick up some garbage, or offer a helping hand to someone. Buy a coffee for the person behind you, or pay for someone's groceries when they look like they are struggling. Let someone use your store discount card so they can get the sales. Give your unused coupons to someone in the grocery store. Offer up money saving advice in the coffee aisle when you start talking about how awesome your Keurig is but the k-cups are so expensive (FYI, don't buy hot chocolate k-cups, buy Swiss Miss packets and add it to your cup before adding hot water from your Keurig... WAYYYYY cheaper!). 

Just get out there and make the world a better place! We don't have to be millionaires donating thousands of dollars to charity to feel like we are making a difference. Helping one person have a better or easier day is making the difference for that person, and the more people that are having a better day, the happier this world will be!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pet Peeves & Car Seats

We all have pet peeves, some of them are small annoyances like nails on a chalkboard, or the sound of someone snapping their gum. Sometimes they are big pet peeves like unvaccinnated children, or mainstream media.

For me, my biggest pet peeve is seeing children riding in a vehicle not properly restrained. I have to admit though, while it is a major pet peeve of mine I am not guilty of not properly restraining my kids.

I know I am not perfect. I know I have made many mistakes, like we all have. I know I am a hypocrit when it comes to my own pet peeve when I replay a video of my kids in the car and decide not to post it on Facebook because my kids weren't the safest they could be while riding in the car.

Like many people, I will still hold my ground on what I believe to be the best choice for our family at any given time. However, realizing we are all only human has made me take a step back and not be so judgmental because we do not know what someone else's situation is.

That picture of a sleeping child in a car with the seatbelt behind their back makes me cringe. At the same time, though, I can't make a judgement based solely on one picture. Maybe right after that picture was taken the parent corrected the seatbelt. Or maybe it was just a long day for them and they felt it would be okay for the drive. Do I agree that it is okay just once? No, absolutely not. Yet, I am also guilty of making a decision in the name of "just this once" and everything turning out alright.

That picture of a baby riding in a car seat that is too big, too small, or with twisted straps makes me want to get on my soapbox about the importance of using a car seat properly. But I don't. Maybe they borrowed a car seat while they waited for their new one to arrive. Maybe they were on the tail end of a road trip and those straps ended up twisted but driving all day with a cranky kid they just overlooked the fact that it's not very safe. I think everyone should be aware of the proper use of a car seat and at what age a child can safely use the next seat up, but sadly some people just go with what they have always done or what "everyone else" says is okay.

I'm not here to judge you... although sometimes I do. I just want you to know there is a safer way to travel with your children. With car accidents being the leading cause of death in children it is our responsibility to do our own research and find the best seat for our children. Even if that means they are 9 years old and still riding in a 5pt harness. Or 12 years old and riding in a backless booster seat.

Let me tell you, their friends won't be riding in the same seats they are. Some much younger won't be riding in car seats at all. Some kids are big enough to ride without a car seat but only if their feet sit flat on the floor with their back straight on the seat and the seatbelt sitting across their shoulder and over their hips. More often than not, the kids riding without at least a booster are not meeting those criteria. Your kid may complain, they may pull the friend card, but you should be pulling the mom card. Don't be afraid to insist they ride in a proper seat until they are big enough to ride without. Don't let them ride without just because they don't like the seat or just because none of their friends have to. You wouldn't put your kid on an amusement ride that they aren't big enough for... so why would you put your kid in a seat they aren't big enough for?

So now I will step down off my soapbox, even though I am not trying to be all high and mighty. Education on these things in our children's life is so important. We research vaccinations, we research the best neighborhoods and the best schools, we research our vehicles for their safety ratings... we should be doing the same with car seat safety. I don't always agree with the AAP but their guidelines for child safety in the car are very good. While these guidelines are not laws, they are still important and worth a good look to be able to make an informed decision in regards to your child's safety.

I hope with this blog I at least gave a little bit of helpful information without sounding too bitchy and that at least one person will consider putting in the research instead of doing what they have been told from their older relatives or the laws that vary so much from state to state.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Movie Review Monday

This week I watched a few new movies, well new to me. I asked for The Purge fpr Christmas but I wasn't aware that there were two of them and since my brother in law didn't know which one I would want, he bought me both. So while I was busy procrastinating what I needed to do all week, I watched both of them. Then my oldest wanted to go see a movie with her friends and instead of just dropping her off, I took the three youngest to go see the new Spongebob movie. I will try my best to review what I saw but it really turned into an $8 nap for me since I had only gotten 4 hours of sleep the night before.

The Purge - This movie is set in the future. 2022, I believe. The country had implemented a new law that would allow anyone to commit any crime of their choosing, including murder, for a total of only 12 hours on purge night. The idea behind the purge was to eliminated crime for the remaining 364 1/2 days of the year and to help cut down on the homeless and lower class population that was dragging the country down. Those people were usually the targets of those looking to purge. Police officers and high ranking officials were exempt from becoming targets, and all emergency services were suspended during the purge. A wealthy family, that gained their wealth from selling home security systems with the purge in mind, became a target this year. The family had to find out how far they would go to protect themselves and realized that even with the best safeguards and wealth, it still didn't make you safe on purge night. The movie was well done, in my opinion. It had a great level of suspense, and it wasn't too predictable. It is definitely not a movie that children should be watching, unless your children are old enough and able to handle movies with a lot of killing. It was pretty gory, but not as bad as I had expected. No worse than any zombie movie out there. The whole premise of the movie was quite intriguing to me, which is why I had asked for the movie in the first place. It did not disappoint. I thought it was a really great movie. If you like suspense, drama, and a good psycho flick, then this is a must.

The Purge: Anarchy - Same premise as the first, just a year later. In this year's purge we find ourselves following a group of strangers that come together to protect each other after finding themselves targets. A husband and wife find themselves stuck outside when the purge begins leaving them unarmed and in harms way. A mother and daughter find themselves targeted for being poor. And a man puts himself in harms way because he is on a mission of justice on this one night where justice is served by the community themselves. We find out in this rendition that the wealthy can buy poor people to slaughter. The idea of the purge is to cleanse one's soul. By participating, you are cleansing your soul until next year. It's much like a religious cult where everyone believes that this way is the right way and if you don't participate then your soul is tainted. However, there is a group that is trying to counteract the purge, to put an end to it. I liked this year's purge better than the previous one. It was the same level of killing, but the action was more intense. Having a group of strangers working together and being stranded outside trying to find safety just made it that more intense. Predictability was rather low, it really left me on the edge of my seat for a good majority of the movie. There was one character that I was surprised we didn't find out what happened come the end of the movie but maybe there will be another movie where she comes back... or they thought her last line was good enough to tell us what happened to her. The characters are pushed to their limits and they must decide to fight or die at the hands of those participating in the purge. They fight their own inner demons in order to survive the demons coming out of the participants. It really is a good series, if you like that sort of thing. If you can't handle blood and gore then definitely skip these movies. Oh, there was one other thing that surprised me... while The Purge is in place, all crime is acceptable, but there is no rape in either movie. A brief sexual scene in the first movie but both were fully clothed and it was consensual. The main focus of both movies is murder and while they could have thrown in some disgusting rape scenes (there were a few times I was waiting for it to happen), they didn't. I applaud the writers for steering clear of that.

Now, onto a much happier note...

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water - Like I stated earlier, I cannot attest to the entire movie because I did end up falling asleep for the entire middle of it, but I will do my best to give a good review of what I did see. I really wasn't planning on bringing my kids to see this in the theater. Most times, I don't feel like the cost of a kids movie is really worth it. This movie was an hour and thirty minutes. Pretty typical length of a movie these days. I have seen some that are more like an hour and twenty minutes and paying the price for such short movies kinda gives me anxiety. I think this one was the right length. Not too short, not too long... I'm not regretting paying for it. In this reincarnation of Spongebob, we follow him and is friends as they venture out of Bikini Bottom in hopes of recovering the lost Krabby Patty recipe. Things become a mess down in Bikini Bottom. Friends turn on friends but eventually, all is well again when they join together to put Bikini Bottom back on it's feet. I fell asleep before we even got to "Sponge out of water" and woke up towards the end. Spongebob is rather stupid show... but it's funny. From what I saw, there wasn't a lot of crude humor, mostly just silly kid stuff. The pirate in the movie is played by Antonio Banderas, and I absolutely LOVED his portrayal of Burger Beard. He is such a well rounded and fun actor. The kids loved the movie from beginning to end. They were asking me what I saw and telling me what I missed. It was a good kid date movie. They enjoyed it, I got a nap in, and Spongebob is just fun to watch on the big screen. If you are wanting to go to the movies with the kids and you all like Spongebob, go see it. But go during matinee prices... save yourself a little bit of money. Or, just wait til it comes out on DVD and definitely rent it. It's a fun movie with some silly, sometimes stupid, humor but it wasn't terrible humor. I laughed out loud quite a few times for only having seen less than half of the movie.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Soccer Saturday 2-21

There was no soccer last week due to torrential downpours. My poor hubby and three of the kids came home soaked after ref duty that started before the rain cancelled the remainder of the games for the day. That's why there was no soccer update last week.

This week, however, we had 5 games. The first game was at 830am, which was just a game that Lexi and I had to help referee, in Pearl City. The second game was at 930am in Honolulu. John took Adam, Sara, and Jacob to that one. The third game was at 10am in Pearl City (following our ref duty) for Kadie so I had the two older girls with me. The fourth game was Sara's at 1130am, and the fifth game was Jacob's at 12pm in Waipahu. We were all over the place yesterday and I am beyond thankful for a husband that can be here to help out.

At our ref duty, all the action was on my side of the field and I had a 10 year old yell at me TWICE for calls I made. His team was losing 3-0 and they ended up coming back and winning 6-3, so being mad at me for making a call wasn't really worth it. At least he was passionate about it LoL The parents on the sidelines were driving me a little nuts though. Not so much their complaining about the calls on the field by the center ref but about the way they talked to their kids about what went wrong on the field. Maybe I am just as bad, I don't know, but dang, have a little more respect and don't badmouth other players to your child.

Kadie's game resulted in their first win! The girls played pretty great for the majority of the game. There were a few times they were bunched up but mostly they stayed spread out and got the ball where it needed to go. Kadie had a great break away and took a nice shot on goal with her left foot, scoring the first goal of the game. She came right back and scored a second time! Then the coach told her to take a corner kick which was amazing. For being 10 years old and never really having to take many corner kicks, she got it right where it needed to go. It bounced off a defender and into the goal giving her a hat trick! She had another nice break away and ended up being shoved down inside the goal box without the defender making a play on the ball. No penalty was called and somehow the ball didn't go out of bounds. I was still mad about her getting shoved and missed what happened next. All I know is the ball was in the middle of the goal box with a bunch of girls fighting for it, including Kadie, and she ended up scoring ANOTHER goal! Final score, 6-1! It was a great game to watch and you can tell the girls are already improving and becoming more confident in themselves as soccer players. Let's hope they keep up this momentum!

I only received a few updates from John about Adam's game so I do not have any specifics. About 15 minutes into the game (so, the second quarter), Adam scored tying it at 2-2. He scored again just before halftime making it 4-2! Just before the game ended he snuck in another shot for a hat trick! Final score, 8-3! Way to go, Team Sub Zero! They are currently undefeated. They are a mighty little team!

I made it to Sara's game shortly before the 1st quarter ended. When Sara came off the field she was already tired. Poor girl just cannot keep up like the rest of my kids, especially when we have to get up at 630am on a Saturday and play all day in the hot sun. Her team didn't seem too into the game. Maybe they were hot, maybe they were tired, or maybe they were just already feeling defeated by a much better team. These girls are only u8 and the team they played was outstanding. Their footwork skills would be envied by my 12 and 14 year olds. Sara had a nice break away at one point and for some reason just gave up. She completely stopped following the ball and had she kept going she probably would have scored. On another break away she took a shot from the left side with her right foot and missed. Had she taken it with her left foot she may have made it. I went in to ref for the second half (parents/coaches ref for their own u8 team) and while I probably shouldn't have, I was coaching the girls on the field. Sara had another nice break away and this time game up with a goal! It was the only goal her team scored. Come to find out, the team they were playing was a club or select team, meaning they have had way more practice and a much higher quality training than out girls. The final score was 8-1. At least it wasn't a shut out.

After Sara's game we went over to Jacob's game that was just coming off the field for halftime. They were losing 4-0 (I think). The boys were playing down a player but still doing great for only have 8 players on the field. I told Jacob he needed to score twice since Sara scored once, Adam scored three times, and Kadie scored four times. Then it would be 1, 2, 3, 4 for the day. He went back out on the field and had a nice break away resulting in an amazing shot on goal and it went in! He broke away a few more times but came up short. The other team was just dominating us in speed. Their shots on goal weren't amazing but they were good enough to go in. Jacob ended up hurting his back when he tried to be superman and leap over a player's leg to turn the ball around at the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter he had quite a few break aways but just couldn't hang onto the ball long enough to get anything. He and another player ended up colliding and he went down on his shoulder. He had already said he hurt his shoulder during another game so I was a bit concerned but he got up and went right back at it. We ended up losing 6-1. Again, at least it wasn't a shut out. The other team just outplayed us and with them having an extra player, it really didn't help us. The lack of calling on the slide tackling was a bit frustrating, too. There was this one kid that kept slide tackling and playing the ball from the ground (which you cannot do). The referee only called it once. John was getting pissed and I had to tell him to calm down. Pretty rich coming from me, the queen of yelling at the refs. I have to admit, it's not really something I can help. It just comes out even though I know how hard it is to ref and feel like you are making the right calls and knowing when to let the boys play and when to enforce the penalty. There are quite a few iffy plays and you either just make the call and risk pissing people off or don't make the call and risk pissing people off. It's really a lose-lose-lose situation for refs.

Anyway, since all my kids scored (besides Lexi because she didn't play yesterday), I now owe them all Starbucks! Kadie keeps insisting I owe her four because she scored four times. A. I cannot afford to be paying out Starbucks for EVERY goal they make. That would be 9 drinks just for ONE day of soccer! Not happening kid! And B. the deal is not for each goal, the deal is if they score they get Starbucks. She scored, end of story. She was pretty amazing though, so maybe I will let her get a cake pop or donut, too ;)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Blah Ditty Blah

I've been trying to come up with things to blog about all week and feel like I just can't piece my thoughts together enough to put it into words for the world to read.

I've thought about writing about pet peeves but it was really only about one pet peeve... and then I found myself guilty of said pet peeve and just couldn't bring myself to judge others for driving me absolutely bat shit crazy with their lack of regard when it comes to how their children ride in the car when I, myself, just did exactly what I HATE! More accurately, I let my kid get away with something that I am totally against. I guess part of that comes from being a parent... we all make mistakes and let some things slide when we know we shouldn't. I really don't want to get into this, which is why I never started writing about it in the first place.

I had thought about writing a What's For Dinner Wednesday post but Wednesdays are our busiest soccer practice days so what would I say in my post? Dinner, what's that? It was probably leftovers or a WYCF night. That's "whatever you can find," meaning cereal, ramen, a nutella sandwich, or easy mac because my kids are very capable of getting those all on their own. Oh, actually, we had McDonald's on Wednesday. My son had a dr's appointment and missed an entire day of school because of it, then I dropped my van off to get an oil change and alignment which took a lot longer than anticipated so we ended up in the McDonald's drive thru. I had a Happy Meal... pretty much the healthiest thing on the menu LoL

I even considered getting back into Fun Photo Friday but today is Friday and I have no fun photos to share. I am big into Facebook so when I have photos to share I share them there. <- a="" all="" always="" amazing="" an="" and="" anyway="" are="" as="" besides="" big="" blog="" blurry="" book="" camera="" captured="" compared="" computer="" dark="" defense="" did="" does="" don="" dr.="" dull="" even="" for="" get="" going="" good="" have="" i="" if="" in="" internet.="" is="" it="" joy.="" jump="" just="" kinda="" like="" looks="" manage="" mars="" moon="" my="" nbsp="" not="" of="" often="" on="" out="" over="" p="" part="" pictures="" pop="" problem.="" screen="" see="" seuss="" shot="" so="" sounds="" t="" take="" that="" the="" they="" to.="" to="" tonight.="" totally="" tripod="" try="" turn="" up="" used="" venus="" what="" will="" with="" you="">
I did get my Movie Review Monday post in... and I have one planned for next week already since I watched two new movies this week. I asked my brother in law for "The Purge" for Christmas, and he bought me both "The Purge" and "The Purge: Anarchy." My 12 year old watched the first one with me (well, part of it), and chickened out from watching the second one. Oh well, he probably shouldn't be watching so much gory crap anyway... look at me sounding like a helicopter parent, ha!

There is one post that I want to put out there soon but I have to get the words right. It will be about parents... the kind that are essentially forced to be parents to kids that aren't there own but they push through, and they drop everything for those kids without regret. I know someone that did that 9mths ago and she just received the best news this week. More on that later, though. Like I said, it needs to be worded perfect and I should probably start with the back story.

So yeah, that's my blog for now... just kinda blah. I told you, quantity over quality, right? Just please continue to read... all like 5 of you, and I know at least one of you lives with me ;)

Thursday, February 19, 2015


My whole life, people have messed up my name. As a 30-something, Brianna, my name was always mispronounced because it just wasn't a common name. Now I hear it everywhere. Little girls, older girls, and a handful of 20-somethings. I now go by Bri, but that gets misspelled more often than not. I get Brie, Bre, and Bree on the majority of my Starbucks cups.

When my kids were born, I didn't choose hard to pronounce names. They are pronouced just like they are spelled. However, that never stopped anyone from saying it wrong. Even our last name is mispronounced and it's pretty straight forward.

With my oldest, she was often called Alexandria, even though there is no I in her name. It happened often, at the doctor's office, at the WIC office, at school. Then, even though I listed her nickname, Lexi, on all school paperwork people would still call her Alex. And at Starbucks, they almost always spell her name Lexy. It's always fun when they actually spell it right without asking how to spell it!

My middle daughter is Kaydence. Her name was always butchered. People would call her Candace, as if I just misspelled her name. Or Can-Dance was often called out. Why? I have no clue. I didn't think it was that hard to read her name and sound it out. Her nickname, Kadie, is often misspelled because it sounds the same as Katie, so she has resorted to spelling it out and even then it gets misspelled.

Adam is a fairly easy name. No one has pronounced it wrong but I do get emails from Barnes & Noble with the name Adaru because whoever put the information in couldn't read my writing. The funniest part is I signed all my kids up for the birthday club at the same time and the only odd name was "Adaru." One would think they would have noticed it seemed out of place but no big deal. Guess my writing was just too hard to read ;)

My youngest is Sara, no H. She is only 8 but she makes sure people know there is no H on the end of her name. No one has yet to mispronounce her name but at this point I wouldn't put it past someone to screw it up.

Today, I actually had someone pronounce Jacob wrong. One of the most popular boy names in the history of FOREVER and it was pronounced as Jack-Up. It's bad enough that I have to spell it out so they don't spell it with a K, now I have to correct someone because they have clearly never seen the name Jacob before.

So, do people mispronounce names because names are getting more unique, or do they mispronounce them because they have never seen the name before? How often does your name get messed up. And does it bother you?

It doesn't really bother me, it just shocks me every time it happens because our names are not that difficult. At least, I don't think they are.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Little Things

Marriage is complicated. When you are dating you spend all this time and effort doing little, sweet things for each other because really that's all you could afford, so it was always the thought that counted. As your relationship developed into something more, so did your efforts. Now you count the big things you do for each other instead of the little things.

Marriage is weird. You sleep next to someone for the rest of your life that irritates you more than your crazy aunt. You put up with their quirks and fight over who left dirty dishes on the counter instead of putting them into the sink or dishwasher. You talk about the rash you found under your boobs and ask them to smell your feet.

Marriage isn't about the big things, yet we focus on those so often that we forget about the little things. My husband and I just spent days fighting over what turned out to be an issue with the little things, not the big things.

My role in this marriage is to take care of the household. I pay the bills, I make sure the kids have clean school clothes, I do the grocery shopping, put the groceries away, and make dinner for a family of 7, I make sure we have healthy foods in the house, along with some snacky stuff cause who doesn't love snacky stuff, and I worry about the future, if the money is going to stop coming, if my kids will survive another move, if my marriage will last through all the changes that we are facing. My role is a pretty big one. Without me, this house would likely fall apart. So I spend my days taking care of the big things. I wear myself out with the cleaning and the cooking and the homeschooling and the child rearing and the bill paying and the worrying that at the end of the day I forget about the little things.

I sigh when my husband wraps his arms around my waist while I am trying to cook dinner. I sit at the edge of the sofa waiting for him to come greet me with a kiss when he gets home from work. I go to bed before he does, sometimes not even telling him that I am going to bed. I get mad when I see he left another beer can on the end table or the loaf of bread on the counter. I let my stress dictate how I react when he walks in the door and then in turn everything begins to annoy me and it leads to sleeping with an invisible wall between us.

I know what you are thinking, what kind of wife am I that treats her husband like this? Well, let me tell you. I am a stressed out mom of 5. I have a lot on my plate and am constantly being pulled in 12 million directions at once. My husband works ALL.THE.TIME. and when he is home he wants to relax... and so do I, but we can't both relax at the same time because something ALWAYS needs done. The stress gets to both of us and we end up not seeing the little things the other person says/does.

We read a book called The Five Love Languages to determine how we show love and how we want to be shown love. We are not even the same in that regard. I like to show my love by buying little things for those that I love, or doing the little things like serving them dinner, or writing little notes for them. The every day things I do that have become so expected that they can't be seen as the little things anymore.

I buy cadbury creme eggs for my husband even though he shouldn't be eating them and it's not even that close to Easter but he LOVES them, so I buy him a few. I make him a bacon rose bouquet for Valentine's Day because he likes bacon and it was something fun and unique for him. I serve him his dinner after I have finished cooking and made up everyone else's plate before making my own plate. I remind him of things he needs to do. I wear the necklace he bought me. I share my last cigarette with him. I manage his soccer team. I even put on extra deodorant before I go to bed just in case I stink ;)

Sometimes these things just aren't enough though. They go unnoticed because they are so typical or so small that they get overlooked. The things that are noticed are the times I forgot to say thank you, or the time I didn't kiss him goodnight, or the time I shrugged away from a hug because I just wasn't feeling like being loved on. Then all those little things add up into a big thing that leads to someone feeling unloved or unappreciated.

So, if not doing the little things adds up into a big deal... then shouldn't doing the little things add up into a big deal? Think about all the little things you do and the times you haven't done them and we should all make a bigger deal out of doing the little things. And if you notice your spouse not doing the little things, speak up before it becomes a big thing. And if you notice you aren't doing the little things, or the little things you are doing aren't being noticed, then do something about it. We need to stop thinking the other person knows they are upsetting us and stop letting it build up before saying something.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Movie Review Monday

This weekend, a much anticipated and much criticized movie was released in theaters. Unless you have been living under rock, I know you know what I am talking about. 50 Shades of Grey!

This movie covered the first book of the 50 Shades series based on a BDSM relationship that was derived from Twilight fan fiction. No wonder it has gotten so much heat, and not the good kind. I actually liked the book. I wasn't sure if I would but it really pulls you in.

As for the movie, it was ruined for me due to all the criticism the series has received. I had heard the sex scenes were horrible. I had heard the sex scenes were straight up porn. I had heard that anyone who actually likes the books and movie are idiots with no sense of what real literature really is.

Let me start by saying that no one reads a saucy novel to pick apart the errors made by the author. Poor grammar can be overlooked when the book sucks you into the fantasy world within the pages. No one is claiming this is a work of amazing literature. What they are saying though is this book offers the reader what any book offers, the chance to live vicariously through the characters. No one should be called unitelligent just because they like this series.

I should probably get to my movie review at some point or I could probably sit here and type out my opposition to the haters and not be able to stop. So without further adieu... the review of 50 Shades of Grey, the movie.

When the movie started everyone in our theater continued to talk. Not even in a children's movie are the theater goers that disprectful at the beginning of a movie. We actually had to turn and shush some younger guys that just wouldn't shut up. Eventually it quited down significantly but there were a few snickers and even a very heated sounding, "Oh my god!" at one point that kind of took away from the movie. If I could see the movie for the first time at home, instead of in the theater with ignorant patrons, I may have enjoyed it more than I did.

The movie seemed to follow the book better than I had anticipated. Usually I don't remember the book so I'm pleasantly surprised by what happens in the movie but this time there were no surprises. I remembered most everything that was going on and I remember thinking several times, "Oh, this is about to happen..."

The sex scenes were very well done, albeit a bit on the pornographic side. They were hot and heavy and very realistic looking. My friend made the comment that the actor playing Christian Grey didn't want his wife to see the movie... and we can completely understand why! Both actors have very nice bodies that were accented very well on the big screen and for a book that centers around this kind of relationship, it didn't overpower the rest of the movie. Yes, there was sex in the movie. Yes, the sex was pretty graphic. Yes, it probably left some people ready to fuck in the backseat of their cars before going home. But, it was not all sex. It was not at all raunchy. It was as classy as you can get given the nature of the book in the first place.

The reason I say the movie was ruined was because I couldn't just sit there and enjoy the movie for what it was. A fictional movie, based on a fictional book. I am usually really good about just enjoying something for what it is. I don't nit pick or laugh at something saying, "that wouldn't happen!" like a lot of people tend to do, especially those that are involved in whatever lifestyle is being portrayed in the movie. Regardless of how I usually am, I found myself constantly being reminded of the criticism. I would be watching a scene and think, "Oh, that's what they meant by that." or, "this sex scene is pretty good, why would they think it was bad?" or, "people really are freaking out about this?" So, it kept me distracted from actually enjoying a movie that I was really looking forward to seeing.

My recommendation: Re-read the book. Get yourself back into the 50 Shades mindset that made me anticipate this movie so much. Wait til the hoopla dies down and go with your spouse or best friend when the theater is nearly empty.  Or just wait for the DVD and make it a night in. If you haven't read the book and you only want to see this to see what all this hoopla is about, go in with an open mind. If you go in with negativity in your mind then you will not enjoy it. I actually liked the movie, I just would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't so distracted by all the haters and the snickering from the crowd around me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hawaii Winter

When you think of Hawaii you don't think about winter. It's practically the same temperature year round here. In the summer months our temps range from about 70-90. That's a pretty broad range because 90% of the time it sits between 78 and 85 for months on end.

Winter, though, that's our rainy and windy season. The temps can get down to the high 50's at night and high 70's at the peak of the day. Even if it is sunny out it can still feel cold due to the wind. Nothing like the rest of the United States is dealing with, no, but cold for those of us that actually have lived in Hawaii long enough to get acclimated.

It didn't take me long to get acclimated to 70's feeling cold. I was so glad to have brought my hoodies and boots. I never miss an opportunity to wear my boots and sweaters. Had I listened to the majority of the people on all the Hawaii Facebook pages, I would be freezing right about now.

People ask all the time if they should bring their hoodies and boots and most of the time people tell them it's not worth it. Lots of people get rid of that stuff or put into storage because they don't think they will need it. I disagree, as I am sitting here on my front porch, in the shade, with the wind blowing between the houses, still cold wearing my Wear Blue hoodie.

It's not the same kind of cold I experienced in Ohio over Christmas, and it's still weird to be able to walk to and from school or Starbucks without being bundled up but for someone that gets cold easily, this is cold. I am glad to have my hoodies. I am glad to have socks and boots and not just flip flops, or slippahs as they are called here.

I may not have to wear a coat, or gloves, or a scarf, but without my hoodies I would be a popsicle. Acclimating is real. So if you ever have to move here or visit for an extended amount of time (3+ months), then I suggest bringing a couple sweaters or hoodies and some real shoes so your feet aren't cold once you get used to these temps. Plus, you'll want some socks and sneakers if you plan on doing any hiking so at least have those on hand. Nothing is quite as sucky as not having those things and having to buy them for island prices.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not complaining. I hate snow, but I also hate sun and sand so I am thouroughly enjoying my Hawaii winter while half of the mainland is dealing with shoveling snow and frozen fingers. So, who wants to come for a visit?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


If you come here to read my Movie Reviews and you feel they are too vague, I want you to know I do that on purpose. I am by no means a real critic. Just your average movie watching mama. I hate reading reviews that give away half the plot and leave you with little surprises. This is also why I hate reading a book before seeing a movie... unless I read the book well in advance, then I don't remember what all happened so everything is new again LoL

Just know that my reviews are as honest as possible without revealing too much of the movie so that you may watch it without it being ruined. More often than not, I want you to check out the movie just so you can form your own opinion. I watch what I want because I think I might like it, so chances are my reviews are not going to be "I hated that, it was so bad, do not watch it." Actually, I would never tell anyone not to watch something. Everyone has differing opinions, so go out there and form your own. I, for one, would hate to miss out on a movie that everyone told me was horrible and come to find out it was just my style. Of course, how would I know I was missing out unless I actually went ahead and watched it despite the horrible reviews.

So, that's my disclaimer. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone that may be considering seeing a certain movie. I also don't want to tell anyone not to see something based on MY opinion of it. Never the less, I will put my opinion out there for anyone looking for a little more info on a movie before they go out and see it.

One more thing, there are quite a few times where I will say it's better to wait for DVD but that's only because I'm cheap and the movies are frickin' expensive!

Now, go watch a movie! Or read more of my blog... whatever you want to do, it's your choice :)

Movie Review Monday - A Day Late

I had wanted to revive Movie Review Monday but in all honesty, we haven't been watching that many movies. We are still trying to get caught up on our Tivo'd shows from over Christmas when we spent 3 weeks in Ohio away from all our shows. I did manage to catch up on 4 weeks of Days of Our Lives rather quickly, though ;)

Anyway, I was finally able to take the time to watch Away & Back. It's a Hallmark movie written by a friend (and her husband) that I met on a BabyCenter message board back in 2005. She is a great woman and an amazing writer. The Dyer team really has a broad range when it comes to writing and I cannot wait to see what they come up with in the future. Check out the movie Hysteria at some point, that was also written by the dynamic duo. Jonah Lisa, you really are amazing!

Now for my review!

I watched it in the middle of the day while the kids were at school because I was all caught up on the shows I could watch without my husband. The movie is rated PG and a family movie. It is about a family of swans that make their home near a family business. When an ornithologist comes to rescue the birds there is a bit of drama between her and the widowed father. The movie progresses nicely and leaves you feeling good about the world. The actors chosen were fantastic in their roles. It felt very real and normal, unlike a lot of feel good movies where everyone seems too nice or too perfect. Great movie all around.

My kids ended up watching it Friday night when my oldest was babysitting and my youngest liked it so much she wanted to watch it again on Saturday. So, it has the Sara Bear seal of approval! If you like movies like Free Willy, Dolphin Tale, or anything animal related, this is a good pick.

It should be playing again on the Hallmark Channel again so set your DVR, TiVo, or VCR so you can watch it on your own time without commercial interruptions. Or pop a squat when it comes on, pop some popcorn, and enjoy this new family favorite with your kids.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Slightly Offensive

Have you ever been sitting somewhere with a complete stranger, or even a semi-aquaintance like a fellow soccer mom, and said something that you know was tongue in cheek but the other person may not understand your humor?

I've run into such commentators from time to time. Whether it's in the grocery store or at the doctor's office or standing at my daughter's soccer practice tonight. I am sure what she said was not meant to be offensive, but I am slightly offended by her remark.

As we were there watching our girls practice, we were making conversation about various things. The subject of needing help with referee duties came up. She knew my daughter was certified and had asked if she could help out. I let her know that until I knew when u12 was playing, I wouldn't be able to give her a definite answer. As it was, my youngest son was playing at the same time as this team at a different location so I was already trying to figure out who could be where. She then says, matter of factly, "That's why everyone should just stick to single children." I sighed almost silently before responding, "Oh, that would make things so much easier, wouldn't it?"

Now, I am not one that becomes offended very easily but this woman doesn't really know me. And I don't really know her, so how am I to interpret what she is actually trying to convey? Was her comment made tongue in cheek? Does she look down on large families? Was she judging me for having five kids all playing soccer? I don't know her well enough to say which was her intention but I am leaning towards tongue in cheek. Still, she did not hesitate in her comment, she just blurted it out probably without thinking about her audience. Maybe that is her personality, again, I do not know.

Then, as conversations continued, she begins talking about her son's u8 team last year. She says, "So, we were at this game and the team across the way, all these crazy moms were wearing tutus that matched their kids' team colors! We were all looking at them like they were nuts!" Cue foot to mouth....

"Oh, that was MY SON'S team! I was one of those crazy moms wearing matching tutus and teeshirts." I was proud of the fact I could make her a tad bit uncomfortable realizing she was talking about me while I was sitting right there because I was not ashamed to be supporting my son's team, even if it was just a u8 game with no goalies.

She quickly added that they were a bit jealous that they didn't think of anything cool like that and the other moms suggested we get matching teeshirts made for this team. So, look for a bunch of crazy moms on the soccer field in a few weeks wearing matching teeshirts in support of a u10 team :)

Anyway, the point of my blog this evening is really that we should be mindful of what we say and who we say it in front of. I spent coutless grocery trips answering questions in the cereal aisle about whether all the children were mine (or all have the same father), "Oh, no, I just pick up random kids in the parking lot and take them shopping with me. Doesn't it look like fun? (and I don't know, but Little Johnny doesn't look much like his father, if you ask me."). And they asked if I was Mormom, Catholic, or knew what caused that, "Uh, no, no, and from the looks of it, no." And let's not forget the twins/triplets question when you have two or more close in age, "yes, they are triplets but one is still in an infant seat because she was the runt of the litter." These questions always come from complete strangers, or mere aquaintances, too. Your friends never question why you have so many kids, most of the time they don't even care how you manage to take care of them as long as you have wine and chocolate in the house when they come to visit.

It's my choice to have a houseful, err handful, of kids. It's my choice to be whatever religion I want, or don't want, and still reproduce like a fucking rabbit. It however isn't my choice to take them all out in public with me at the same time only to be bombarded with assinine questions regarding my religion, my sanity, and my sexual tendencies. Not really your business, Grandpa. Unless you need me to point you to the diaper aisle, stop asking me questions.

And for the love of all things holy, please do not make comments about soccer parents in front of soccer parents that you do not know because you just may be talking about that soccer parent sitting next to you (or someone they know). And never tell me how many kids I should have had... I'm not telling you to give your children a sibling or four or saying you should never have procreated in the first place. It's just kinda rude... and slightly offensive.

Soccer Saturday 2/7

Another weekend of bright and early soccer. Nothing like running around trying to find uniforms and water bottles and make sure we aren't forgetting anything at 8am on a Saturday.

We ran into construction on the way to the fields and ended up having to go down a few blocks and make a u-turn. This rail construction is just a pain in the ass because it goes right through the only road that leads to the soccer park. It caused quite a few people to be running late for their games. We were only about 10 minutes late, so it worked out alright.

Kadie had the 9am game. She played forward (or midfielder, not quite sure) the first quarter. She was amazing out there for the entire 12.5 minutes. It doesn't seem long, but that's a long time in soccer minutes. For being only 10 years old, she was impressing me (and her dad) with her decision making skills on the field. She put herself in the right positions and she didn't seem to hesitate on the field, like she usually does. There was one play where she ran up the middle while her teammate had the ball on the outside. Her teammate passed her the ball and without even thinking about it she shot at the goal! She didn't hesitate, she didn't situate her feet any different, she just kicked the ball... and she kicked it hard and accurately! SHE SCORED!!! It was pretty amazing. She sat out the 2nd quarter and went back in after halftime. She went in at defense. I told her not to let anything get past her and she didn't! Come the 4th quarter she was sitting again. Not quite sure why he would take her out. Maybe because she's one of the better girls on the team so he was giving the other girls more playing opportunities or maybe because she missed practice on Wednesday. As a coach, if I had to sit someone more than one quarter, I would probably choose anyone that missed a practice, to be honest. So, I guess I understand. Anyway, we were down 6-1 and ended up scoring twice in the 3rd quarter! I thought we were going to make a comeback but we just couldn't keep up the momentum in the 4th. They ended up losing 8-3 but it was a pretty well played game. And I was so proud of my baby!

Adam's game was right after Kadie's, on the same field, except we were on the opposite side. As we were moving our tents over and trying to find the stakes to keep them from blowing over, they blew over! Our new one was hard to get back up right but we did it without breaking anything. The old one, which wasn't as sturdy to begin with, ended up with a bent leg. It didn't seem to hurt it too bad as we were able to still use it and still take it down with no issues. Thankfully, that was the extent of our drama for the morning LoL

Adam began his game as goalie. That boy has some balls when he is in the goal, too. He may be little, but he is not afraid. He was running out to the ball even if the ball wasn't in the goalie's box. Thankfully he is smart enough not to pick it up when it's outside of those lines and he kicked it. He is also fast enough to get back into the goal. That could also be due to my screaming at him to get back into the goal LOL. The second time he came out of the box the opposing team recovered the ball quickly. A hard, high kick that I thought was going way over Adam's head. Adam ran back toward the goal, jumped JUST in time, and got his fingers on it. Sadly, he wasn't tall enough to bat it down and it bounced off his fingers into the goal. It was an amazing play all around though, and the only goal the opposing team scored. Adam didn't score at all, even though he tried really hard and took quite a few shots on goal. However, we did end up winning 7-1! Trying to teach a bunch of 9yr olds what the mercy rule is, wasn't exactly working. All they knew is that they wanted to score but after they were up by 5, they were supposed to just pass the ball around to each other to get that practice in. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with the mercy rule. On one hand, it doesn't discourage the other team. It allows for practice skills amongst the winning team. On the other hand, though, what are we teaching them? Are we teaching them that if they are worse than another team (or person) that they should have to stop being good just so we don't feel bad about ourselves? It seems a bit counterproductive to me. I understand why the rule is in place but at the same time, is it worth it?

Anyway, that makes Adam's team undefeated so far and Kadie's on a losing streak. Jacob didn't play this week and Lexi and Sara haven't started yet. Lexi has been helping us with our referee duties with little complaining after I offered to pay her. Everyone was asking why she wasn't the center ref at this last game we refereed because she is a good ref. She won't be able to help out much longer though since she will be starting her own games at some point and with games beginning at other regional parks, I just am not committing to staying out there longer than I need to. Lexi has already refereed for 3 games, and myself for 2 games. If the games are not at Waipio, I am not volunteering her. I have too many kids playing in too many different places for me to have to commit to spending more time outside of our region. I swear I'm not a soccer scrooge, I just need other parents to volunteer... oh, and the coach for my son's team because it's not my responsiility to referee. It was last year when I was the coach, but this year I am just the team mom dammit!

Next week we have at least one game at Waipio and another game around the same time in Pearl City. No idea when the third game is as we have not gotten the schedule update yet. I am so impatient. I need this info so I can figure out how my kids are getting where. Too bad Lexi can't drive yet ;)

Friday, February 6, 2015

What Do You Do?

Last night my husband had a work event, a farewell for the Command Sergeant Major. I usually don't like going to Army events because they never start on time and always run late. When you have to pay a babysitter, on top of the $40 dinner per person, it just doesn't seem logical for me to go. I'm also not your typical Officer's Wife, in case you hadn't noticed. I don't participate in the FRG, I don't live on post, I don't socialize outside of these events with the other wives, and I have a bunch of kids. In fact, most people are surprised to find out I am an officer's wife. Most days I don't even feel like a Major's wife and I even made the comment that I am not cut out for that type of socializing and commitment to the Army way of life. I would never make it as a Commander's wife because that's just not my style.

Usually when we have these types of events to attend I spend the majority of the time sitting by myself, sipping on a drink, watching my husband run around socializing and getting things ready for presentations and making sure things run smoothly. More often than not that also means we are running late. Not last night, though.

I was already ready to go when my husband came home at 3ish and we left with plenty of time. We actually arrived early. We were the third couple to sign into the guestbook. We found our way to the cash bar and chose a table towards the back of the courtyard during social hour. We really only socialized with people that came by our table and that was fine with me. I have a terrible time remembering who people are even though my husband introduces me to them every.single.time. we attend a work event. My brain just cannot retain that information and in all honesty, I really don't need to remember them because I won't be socializing with them outside of that circle. I have enough to remember without being able to name all the soldiers my husband works with.

As social hour continued, I spent my time chatting with my husband and people watching when no one was coming to talk with us. I avoided the appetizer table because it was nothing but carbs. Potato chips, pita chips, tortilla chips, and bread. I was already drinking a rum and sprite and I was adamant that I was going to watch my calories before dinner since I did not want to waste the $40 plate. The plate that was covered in some kind of mushroom gravy and yet still very bland. But, I digress.

Dinner actually started on time, and I was pleasantly surprised. We, again, chose a table towards the back which I would later be very grateful for when I had to pee so bad from all the water I drank and the CSM was still giving his farewell speech. I just couldn't wait any longer so I made a beeline for the back exit. Prior to that, I sat mostly quiet at the dinner table until the dreaded question was asked of me by the only other female sitting at my table.

This woman could talk. She was pretty much the only one talking at our table. She turned to me and said, "You are so far away, I feel like you can't hear me." I nodded and smiled and she asked, "So, what do you do?" The question took me off guard but yet I expected it. It's one of those questions that you ask people in an effort to get to know them because it's kind of impersonal but yet personal all the same.

I let out a little laugh and replied, "Uh, nothing really." Which is so true of the way people see stay at home moms. We don't work. I quickly added, "Or everything." which is also so very true. I'm a stay at home mom.

I make sure the bills are paid on time and manage the budget. I play taxi driver between sports practices and after school activities. I homeschool my 3rd grade son three days a week. I babysit for a friend the other two days of the week. I manage the family calendar and the chore chart. I sign papers and write checks for various school related things. I do the grocery shopping and make dinner on the nights we aren't ridiculously busy with sports. I do the laundry, I sweep the floors, I let the dog in and out 100x a day. I blog. I bake. I make crafts. I take the car for an oil change and the dog for a spa day. I pick up kids from school for dentist appointments, snuggle them when they are sick, and I research future schools. I even make time for myself to workout. I do my best to insure that everyone in my household is well taken care of and happy and healthy. And yet, the answer that is always given to that question is "nothing" but it couldn't be further from the truth.

I try my best to do it all and to do it all well enough to not get Child Protective Services called on me. I don't get paid to do what I do. Even the payment of appreciation is completely lacking. Yet, every morning I get up and I do it again. So when I am asked "What do you do?"and I respond with "nothing" I am doing a great disservice to all the stay at home moms out there.

We don't do nothing. Aside from bringing home a paycheck, we actually do it all. And we should not be ashamed of that. The next time someone asks you what you do, tell them everything because you are a stay at home mom. Or be creative. Tell them you are a CEO where you are on call 24/7 specializing in household operations. Take the credit for all that you do and be proud of who you are. Not everyone is cut out for being a stay at home mom, not everyone can afford to be a stay at home mom, but if you are lucky enough to have that title, don't be afraid to own it. Even if you do just tell them you are the CEO of HHO and they don't get it, at least you will know what it means and you will have a smile in your heart while being all that you are because we shouldn't have to feel like we do "nothing" just because our day to day job doesn't pay the bills.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Call Me Crazy

If you have been following me on Facebook, MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun, or here at Such is My Life, then you know I just recently started running again. Along with eating healthier, I have managed to lose a little weight and gain more confidence in myself.

When we lived in Washington, I actually ran two 5k mud runs with obstacles. I didn't do any training for the first go around, and the second year I was involved with a fitness group (that I loved and miss so much!). I did that one with my sister so it slowed my time a bit but I wasn't worried about that. We had a lot of fun, got really dirty, and finished it!

Then this past November, I signed the whole family up for a color run. It was Color Vibe at Aloha Stadium and we had a blast. Lexi ran with John, finishing first out of our group. Followed shortly after by me and my boys. The younger girls stayed with our friend, Kristi, and came in not too long after we did. We came home a colorful mess, with a fun story to tell about my kids' first 5k.

To think, I didn't run a 5k until I was 30 and my youngest was only 7 when she ran hers! It's amazing the world my kids are growing up in where running and fun races are a trend that so many of us can get behind.

I never really saw myself as a runner until recently. It's easily my favorite workout. I love challenging myself to complete the miles, which I am always proud to say I did. And shaving minutes off my pace is great. I love watching my progress and feeling it.

Now comes the crazy part! I have bitten the bullet and committed to running a Spartan Sprint at Aloha Stadium. Technically I am not fully committed since I haven't registered yet (one of the Army life perks, must wait til the 15th). I fully intend to register and I fully intend to complete the race on March 15th. It's only 5wks away and my upper body strength is pretty non-existant, but then again I have 5wks to work on that.

I was nervous about whether I should do it or not but after watching a couple of videos from last year's Spartan at the same venue, I am confident that I can do it. Do it well? That's yet to be determined. The part I am actually most worried about is all the stairs. I HATE STAIRS! Almost as much as I hate burpees! And did you know if you cannot complete an obstacle you are required to complete 30 burpees??? Yikes! Never the less, I am all in!

Speaking of all in, I have two friends that BETTER do this with me! You know who you are! We are even planning a couple of other races for April. One is a 10k bridge run. How awesome to be able to say I ran the Ford Island Bridge? Not many people can say that, right? And if this is my last year in Hawaii, I better get to it. Then there is a 5k road race the week after the bridge run which should be easy peasy after all is said and done.

The hubby is also signing up for a race this year. The Hibiscus Half Marathon in May. I am not that ambitious, but it sounds like a great run through Diamond Head. It will be his second half marathon. His first was back in November at the Disneyland Avengers Half.

So yeah, wish us luck! I know I am going to need it! LoL

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Thrive Comes to a Close

I finished out my samples of Thrive last week. It was quite an interesting experience, to say the least. I began it at the same time I began my healthier eating habits, and getting in some more regular exercise so I cannot say for sure what to attribute to the Thrive Lifestyle, and what to attribute to a regular healthy lifestyle change.

What I can tell you is this:

Thrive was pretty great. It helped curb my appetite. It seemed to give me a bit of an energy boost in the middle of the day when I typically began to feel tired. I did lost about 5lbs while on Thrive, as well. On the negative side, I began experiencing headaches almost nightly. I would even wake up with a headache. Everything Thrive offers has caffeine in it, and on top of that I was still drinking home brewed coffee and stopping in at Starbucks for an afternoon latte. Even for me, that is a lot of caffeine.

Since ending my trial period, I have noticed less headaches. When I do get them, they are not nearly as strong as they had been. I am sticking to my low calorie diet and sneaking in some walks/runs when I get the motivation and/or time to do so. My weight loss has plateaued but at the same time, I wasn't running/walking for a few days.

I use MyFitnessPal to track my calories consumed and calories burned. I also use MapMyRun to track my workouts. Both apps are a great motivator. I have logged into MFP 15 days in a row now. I love MMR because it lets me see how fast I am running/walking and I will know if I need to slow down or steady my pace. I recommend both apps if you are considering losing weight and/or getting healthier this year.

Do I recommend Thrive? Sure. Try it out for yourself. Everyone will view it differently. There are plenty of people out there that love this product. I just wasn't so in love with the cost. In a time of the unknown with my husband's job, and a year where I am dealing with a lot financially, I just could not see spending the extra money on a supplement. I will find other, cheaper, easier, ways to get my energy up. My appetite has not gone back up since coming off of Thrive, so I have that going for me. However, if my situation changes and I need a little help, I'll definitely reconsidering trying out Thrive for the full 8wk experience.

Adventures in Homeschooling

It started back at the beginning of the school year when I was literally fighting with Adam every night to get his schoolwork done. I felt like I was having to reteach him everything he was learning in school and not knowing how the teacher was teaching, or how to get him to understand it from my point of view was extremely frustrating. With 4 other kids plus all the kids in sports, I just couldn't handle the hours of arguing and fighting to get it done with enough time to feed the kids and get them to their respective practices, so I made the decision to homeschool sometime in September.

I pulled Adam out of school and set out with no particular plan in place. We started following the Easy Peasy Homeschool website and using to get him learning fast math skills. That was one of our other issues. He just wasn't remembering his math facts and it was making things even more frustrating.

We followed Easy Peasy for awhile, but the Christian aspect just was not for us. Xtra math frustrated him every day because he would get himself worked up over not getting the answers fast enough. We then started using Khan Academy for math and he seemed to like that one. For spelling we were using and it was fun for him. He breezed right through that and before we knew it, he was done with 300+ 3rd grade spelling words.

Then one weekend I found a bunch of workbooks at a yard sale and found a stash of them in one of my drawers and we started using those. A giant math workbook that covers numbers, operations, geometry, and algebra, a writing prompt workbook, and a grammar workbook. They were perfect for our style of teaching and learning. It was all "hands on." He could work on the different problems, with my help as needed, and then I would give him a test over the subject.

He finished the numbers and numeration portion of the math workbook shortly before we went home to Ohio for Christmas. While we were there I gave him a test over the material he had learned. He did great. Not perfect, but I'm not seeking perfection, just a general understanding of the subject at hand. We moved onto the operations portion of the workbook when we came back home and in less than a month he has finished that section. He has a solid grasp on addition and subtraction including carrying and borrowing. Then came multiplication and dividing. And while I cannot stand the Common Core way of teaching math, it has actually helped to allow him to see where the operations are working with a set of objects.

When the workbook started featuring more and more multiplication problems, I went on a Pinterest search for fun ways to teach him. We had already gone over some of the rules of multiplication and he knew how to multiply by 1, 2, 5, and 10. So I set out to help him memorize his facts without the use of flashcards and created a came using playing cards. We would start easy, with addition. I would flip over two cards and he would give me the answer. I only used cards 2-10 so as not to confuse him with face cards. We would time him and go through the deck three times, shufflng in between rounds, to see if he could beat his previous times. After three tries we moved onto subtraction, repeating the process. Then we would dive straight into multiplication. It took quite a bit of time at first, but still less than 5 minutes per round, but the more he practices them, the better he gets. He has learned how to do multiplication of 9's on his fingers. Anyone else remember learning how to do that? And he knews he can count by 5's to get that answer if he doesn't remember it off the bat. For now, I am okay with that. I know that memorization comes in time and after only a couple of weeks of playing card math, I can already see how well he is remembering his facts.

We have not gone too much into division but knowing his multiplication facts, at least somewhat, has helped him with the problems in his workbook that feature that operation. He knows that 24/3=? is the same thing as ?x3=24, so he can find the answer without really knowing/remembering that 24/3=8 because he knows 8x3=24. It really is fun watching him and knowing that he knows these things because of me.

I'm still not totally confident in my role as a teacher, and we still have a lot of whining going on when it comes time to do his work. Which is generally annoying since he really only does work Mon-Weds-Fri and for only a matter of a few hours, rather than sitting in school for 6hrs. When he finishes with his work he gets to play Minecraft, still semi-educational, and for the remainder of the day he is pretty much done unless I decide to verbally quiz him on things.

Like the other day in the car. I decided to help him memorize some multiplication facts with little hints on how to get the answer. For example, 9x9 is like 9+9 only in reverse, and 5x5 is a quarter. It's not conventional, but it seems to be working. Soon he won't even need to remember my hints, he will just know the answer off the top of his head and I cannot wait for that day to get here.

He really is a smart kid, he just likes to push my buttons and he is a procrastinator like his mama. There are days that I just cannot handle him. He likes to rush through his work and get it all wrong because he either didn't read the directions or didn't stop to think long enough because he thinks the faster he does it, the faster he will be done. He is learning quickly that doing it right the first time will get him done faster and after a little incident with compound subjects and predicates this morning, he dove right into his math without me having to remind him.

Speaking of grammar, he has flown through that workbook. He only has a couple more subjects to learn from it and then I will have to figure out a test for him to take based on the material. I think once we cover everything in the workbook I am going to focus on his writing skills. He doesn't particularly care for his writing prompts but you can definitely see an improvement with his grammar within his writing. It will be a good way to keep up on grammar daily and to help him with his writing.

On the flip side of writing, is reading, which we haven't been doing much of. We are a family of readers, for the most part, but we just can't fit it into our day as much as I would like. I was just browsing Amazon earlier today for more workbooks and I found a reading comprehension workbook, along with a reading test workbook, that I think will be perfect for him. It keeps it short and sweet but he definitely picks up on the lessons he needs to be learning. I'm also considering diving into a bit of geography too which we can turn into research projects since he has been asking when he can do a project. It's not really my strong suit, but I've managed so far.

This homeschool thing is a lot more rewarding than I had anticipated. I was worried I wouldn't be able to teach him what he needed to learn but so far it seems to be going well. It is still early in our first year and he has yet to take the state assessment to see if he has learned anything from this homeschooling adventure but I am pretty confident that he will, at the very least, pass. I am nervous about the geometry portion which we have not started in our workbook yet, but thankfully I have the internet to help when I need it.

I plan to send him back to public school next year because, while I think they learn a good deal being homeschooled, I firmly believe in the public education system. There is something to be said for the social aspect. He needs to learn how to listen to a teacher that stands at the front of the room. He needs to learn how to sit still in a chair while someone else is talking. He needs to learn how to hold a conversation with his peers. He needs to learn how to take notes on a subject to be able to study later. There are things at school that he just won't get in the home setting. I know there are ways to teach them these things, all while being homeschooled, but I think the public education system is important for so many reasons. Not to mention, I don't know if I could continue doing this as he gets older. Already I feel like I don't have the chance to get anything done and I am back with a child at home 24/7. My youngest went off to school two years ago and it was so nice being able to get things done during the day because once the kids get home from school it's Grand Central Station. On top of needing that time to recoup and take care of my regular mom and wife duties, I don't think I could effectively teach what they need to know past an elementary level. Some days third grade material gets me, like predicates... what the hell is a predicate?! LOL But I manage, and he learns, and while I am not the perfect teacher, I am a resourceful one and I continue to amaze myself with the things I am capable of doing.

It will be bittersweet when this adventure comes to an end, but being an Army wife, I know adventures have an expiration date. For this one, I am aiming for September. But also like the Army, nothing is for sure until it is actually happening.