Today we had a lot of fun. We create our fall luminaries, which was a lot of fun and a tad messy. They came out great and we plan to make a few more to add around the house. My 3 year old loves taking out the battery operated tea lights and turning them on and off. These would make great gifts for your friends and family, or great decoration for a fall themed table. We will be using the ones we made today on our front entry table, which is decorated with some faux books, a mason jar wax warmer, a dried flower bouquet from my best friends wedding, my mother’s day tea hat that my little guy made for me, and most importantly my husbands Grandfathers service flag, hats and some of his metals.
Tomorrow we are going to have a fun out of the house school day depending on the weather. We will be meeting a friend at the park for some outdoor play and exploring, and a scavenger hunt for things that begin with our letters of the week that we have worked on so far this year. Our current letters are S, T, E, & A so we will see what we can find. If our weather is not nice and we are not able to go out doors, we may make a stop at our local fire station. We do this at least 3 times a month at random times, and to random stations. The firefighters love visits and of course the cookies that we bring, and my little guy is so excited to hang out with the firemen and playing on the trucks. I am pretty sure we have a future firefighter on our hands.
I have been told that it is now fall! My favorite time of the year, only down side is that we live in Florida and there is no real fall. So we will create our own fall. We have many project that we will be working on this week and the weeks to come. I am excited to see our little guy learn about Fall and all that it means. Who knows, maybe we will have a few days here soon where it is not 95 degrees outside.
Our first fall project was really simple. We created apple and pumpkin handprints in our Composition book.
We are using a composition notebook during our home school journey to keep track of our progress and achievements. We hope to look back at the end of the year and see our sons strengths and weaknesses so that we know what area we need to improve on.
Our next project we are going to work on is perfect, we are going to use the tuns of mason jars that we have left over from our wedding a few years ago. We are going to make Fall Luminaries to decorate our house and give us a bit more of the fall feel. This is a simple and fun project and most people have all the required laying around their house and if not most items can be purchased for under $5 at the dollar tree.
Later this week or at the beginning of next week, we will be making home made applesauce pouches. It is really simple and easy for your kiddos to help out. You will need :
3-5 lbs of apples (Depending on how much apple sauce you want)
Slice your apples into segments, add to your large pot, add about 1-1 1/2 cups of water or apple juice (we have used both and it tastes the same), and cinnamon to taste. Your children can help you will all the steps up until this point. Next Cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until you apple pieces are soft. Once apples are soft, add half your apples and half the juice to your blender (your blender may hold more or less) and puree until smooth. Once you have pureed your apples, place your mesh strainer over a large bowl or measuring cup and pour your apples in using a spoon push your sauce through the strainer, straining out the apple skins and larger pieces. Once done you are ready to add your apple sauce to your jars, or pouches and refrigerate or freeze within 1 week. We usually leave about 4 bags in the fridge and add the rest to the freezer and pull them out as needed. Enjoy!
This blog post is a difficult one to post, but I feel it is very important to post for any parents who may be going through something similar. Dealing with losing someone you love is something we never want to discuss with our children. But sadly it happens, see how we dealt with it as a family
How our family started
My husband and I started dating almost 8 years ago. I instantly became close to his family, as family has and always be the most important thing in my life. The one person I became the closest to was his grandmother. She was one of my best friends, not a day went by where I didn’t speak to here at minimum of 2 times a day. Usually I spoke with her more like 5-8 times a day, which yes seems like a lot but I called her about everything. Usually we had over big conversation of the day which lasted any where between an hour or three, just depending on what we had to talk about, and then we had many little calls about lunch, dinner, what she was up to, or just to randomly call and tell her something.
She was such a big part of Chief’s life. She along with my husbands aunt watched him as an infant, during the week while I worked. He saw her often, and spoke with her every time I was on the phone with her.
Grandma started complaining a lot in December/ January about having bad back pain. She went to the doctors multiple times and they kept telling her that she was having back spasms and gave her some muscle relaxers. On one visit they thought maybe it was her gallbladders, but after an MRI it revealed that she only had one gallstone and most likely was not the cause of her pain.
After months of complaining she called me early in the morning crying that the pain was so bad. Finally I was fed up, I was taking her to the hospital to find out what was wrong with her. We arrived in the emergency room and were immediately taken back to a room, they ordered a CT scan of her chest and abdomen. The ER doctor came back and we spoke with him outside her room and he told us that they found a mass on her pancreas. I instantly knew it was cancer, no test had to tell me. I realized in this moment I was going to lose one of the most important person in my life. What I was not prepared for was how quick it would happen.
She was admitted to the hospital for more testing, and I explained to her that they found the mass, but we didn’t know yet what it was. I stayed with her the entire night, not sleeping and pacing the halls like an anxious parent waiting to hear bad news about their child. It seemed like the test to confirm the cancer was taking a lifetime. The next afternoon the doctor came in and explained what was going on, and what we were waiting for. Once he was finished talking to us, I went into the hallway with him to ask about the test results. He checked right there on the computer, and I saw him pull up the results and I knew what they meant the instant I saw the red numbers. It was confirmed, she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer and he said she only had about 6 months to live.
Leaving the Hospital
Once we left the hospital, we made an appointment to meet with the oncologist and he gave us even worse news. He didn’t think she had 6 months, he said more about 3 months. I was completely devastated, how was I going to handle this, how was my son going to handle this? They were so close. He referred us to Hospice, and told us to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Well months passed and she did great, she had days where she was in a lot of pain and other days where she was completely fine. We registered her with hospice and got a great set of nurses to work with. They helped with her pain management, and anything we needed.
Hospice Home Care
Then the time came, 4 months after she was diagnosed and 1 month later then the oncologist gave her, she started to get weaker, started to forget things, and was no longer able to care for her self. I had made the decision and promised her over a year ago when I helped her put her brother in hospice that she would not go into a home, that she would come live with us. So in July she moved in with us. My 3 year old was ecstatic that his great grandma would be here every day with us. The day before she arrived we set up her room, we had all of her supplies delivered by hospice, and we hung pictures on the wall to make it like home. (we briefly converted our downstairs play room into her bedroom) Our first 2 weeks were great, she was happy to be here and was doing well. I made sure to spend as much time talking to her as possible. My son spent all day loving on her, showing her toys, playing and talking her ear off.
We tried to capture every moment with her while we could. Giving her all our love, hugs, kisses, and laughs. I feel that this is important that all children should spend these last moments with their loved ones. Even on her worst days, a quick kiss or hug could give her lots of energy and made her so happy. We must not treat them as they are sick, but as they are our family and soon they will no longer be there with us, so we should make their final moments happy ones. My all time favorite day, was the day I introduced grandma to snap chat. We took lots of photos, and I will always cherish them as they are from the last day before she started to become much more forgetful.
Time to say goodbye
Not long after this amazing day she started to eat and drink less, and then the time came. She woke up late Wednesday night and was very confused, she went back to sleep but when she woke on Thursday she had trouble breathing and was put on constant oxygen, the hospice nurses came right away to check on her and let us know that it wouldn’t be long. We made sure to talk to Chief and explain what was going on. We had spoken with him many times before and told him that soon great grandma wouldn’t be with us any more, I explained that soon the angles would come to get her and that she would go to live with them. He was obviously upset and confused that she would be somewhere he couldn’t see or talk to her anymore, but its important that he understood that she didn’t just disappear with no explanation.
By Friday afternoon I knew she wouldn’t make it through the night, hospice came out and confirmed that soon we would have to say goodbye. We called my mother in law and she rushed from work, and eventually the rest of the family came to say their goodbyes. We brought Chief in the room and he climbed into bed with her and gave her a hug and a kiss and she smiled, more then she had responded the entire day. Once everyone left it was just my mother in law, my husband and our son left at the house.
Later that night a hospice CNA arrived to assist us as the time got closer. We stayed in the room the majority of the night with her, just briefly coming out to close our eyes for a few minutes to return right back to her side. Then at 5am I had just come out to close my eyes for a moment and the CNA came out to get me, it was time. I held her hand, kissed her, and told her how much I loved her. I went upstairs and woke my husband, I crawled into bed and cried my eyes out then pulled my self together to get back down stairs. I held her hand, and hold her how much I loved her until the moment she took her last breath. 7/30/2016 at 5:13am she was gone, she passed peacefully in loving care of her family.
That morning Chief woke up, and we explained to him that she had passed and that the angels came to take her away. He ran to her room to discover that she in fact was gone. He was upset but understood that grandma was in a better place and that she was no longer in any pain. He still talks about her quite frequently, we go to visit her grave at the cemetery, and he talks to her outside sometimes while he is looking to the sky. This journey was one of the most difficult ones that I have ever taken and I would not change one thing about it.
I hope that if you are dealing with a similar situation, that you would choose to include your child(ren). It is helpful to not only family member who is dying, but also to the children who will ultimately have to deal with their passing. Make sure to take advantage of any resources you may have. Hospice was such an amazing help to us during and after my grandmothers care. I would not have been able to do any of this with out their help. We will also be taking advantage of their bereavement programs that they offer as well. If you don’t think that hospice home care is something that you can do, they have inpatient facilities that your loved one can go to once their symptoms are no longer manageable at home. Our facilities locally are beautiful and amazing, and you receive the same care there that you would at home.
We love you grandma and no day is the same with out my daily calls to you.
Well, this week it finally came. I am 30! Where did the time go? I feel like I was just a care free child playing outside until the street lights came on. I had a great birthday week. We started out on Tuesday with a trip to one of my favorite cities, St. Augustine, FL. We took advantage of their locals special they are offering for the month of September, where all residents in my area are welcome to ride their trolley for free and experience some of the local attractions.
We first started out getting our tickets from Old Town Trolley Tours St. Augustine, and we got tickets for the trolley tour, the Old Jail, St. Augustine History Museum, Potter’s wax museum, and the Old Drug Store. Although we did not make it to the History Museum, or the Old Drug Store, we plan to go back soon and visit those attractions.
The Old Jail
Our first stop was to the Old Jail. I was a bit worried as we brought along Chief who is 3, and the inside of the jail on the first floor is kind of dark in the beginning of the tour. He did ok, but wanted to be held during this portion. It was very interesting to see the jail, as this was an actual jail in St. Augustine that was used from 1891-1953. During the tour you are guided by “inmates” in period dress, and are guided first through the court yard where they use to hang prisoners(very eerie), women’s cells, maximum security, the kitchen, the Sheriff’s living quarters, and then upstairs to general populations and the Sheriff’s private bedrooms. You are then left to wander on your own, exploring the cells, and information posted on the walls. You can see that the cells are very tiny compared to today’s prison cells and seem very inhumane as we are told that many times there are more then 4 prisoners to a cell.
After our visit to the Old Jail we took the trolley tour around the city with our driver Robert. He was a fantastic driver and narrator as we passed historic areas of downtown. As a frequent visitor it was nice to finally take a complete tour of the city and become familiar with some areas we have never seen before. Our tour lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes and we enjoyed every single bit of it. Chief did get a little antsy towards the ended but he stuck it out.
There are 24 stops on the trolley ride where you can hop off and explore, and then pick up the next trolley as it comes by. Mt favorite stop on the trolley is St. George Street. I HIGHLY recommend that you hop off here and explore this pedestrian walking street. There are lots of unique little shops, restaurants, and more.
Our favorite areas to stop on St. George are Colonial Quarter, it is absolutely beautiful, so much that we actually got married here under their great big oak tree filled with beautiful lanterns. Our next favorite place to stop is right across the way at Fudge Buckets, this is a must stop location. Head in to sample homemade fudge, and amazing ice cream or if your feeling extra hungry stop at their sister store Burger Buckets located not far from this location. If you head into Burger Buckets make sure to ask Gary, what he recommends to eat. He has never steered us wrong and our food is always amazing. After our trolley tour we had dinner at our favorite restaurant as mentioned above, Burger Buckets and then headed home for the evening.
We returned back on Thursday, my actual birthday to visit Potter’s Wax Museum. Now this is an attraction that I would not recommend for young children as it can be a bit frightening and unnerving. While it is a very interesting attraction, it was nowhere near my favorite place to stop. The museum is filled with many historical figures, famous actors/actresses and professional athletes. I am 30 (yikes) and it was terrifying to me, which is odd because I love all things creepy and scary. I love a good horror movie, but this just seemed way to real. I even briefly braved their horror section and quickly ran back out. Each wax figure is expertly made, and they were even crafting their next figure that will be joining their museum next week, Mr. Ray Charles. It was very interesting to watch their process. I can’t say that I won’t ever go back for another visit, maybe next time I won’t feel so anxious, but I can say it won’t be high on our list. Of course if we do visit again, it will be without Chief.
If you are interested in seeing this attraction at night, they do offer a ghost tour that stops at this location as it is reported to be a very haunted building in St. Augustine. Eeek!
We of course made another visit to Burger Buckets for dinner after our visit to the wax museum. We had an amazing dinner, we shared their Bite of Fire Burger, and Extra Meaty Chicken Wings. Mmmm, everything was so amazing. I finished off my dinner with an amazing banana split sundae, where I went with the traditional toppings. You can choose your 3 ice creams and toppings. Chief got his famous scoop of Superman ice-cream on a cake cone, which is vanilla ice-cream tie dyed red, yellow and blue. They have tuns of different options for dessert such as milk shakes, ice-cream cones, key lime pie on a stick, frozen bananas, and of course lots of fudge to choose from! All their fudge is home made right there at the Burger Buckets location. Go check them out, you won’t regret it!
I do have to say that turning 30 was a lot better then I expected. We had a fantastic time visiting St. Augustine on both days, and we will be returning again in the future, as this is one of our favorite date locations. If you haven’t visited yet, we recommend that you do! Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, as some of the roads are cobblestone and can be a tad uneven. Check our the Visitor Information Center, for information about local attractions, restaurants, shops and more!
Well I finally decided to do this. Where to start? Well, here is a bit about our family. My name is Brittny, and I am a stay at home mom to a very adventurous three and a half-year old and a wife to one amazing husband who makes this all happen.
I haven’t always been a stay at home mom, I had big dreams of working in a busy office and being important in the business world. Then my son was born and my whole view changed. I was a Senior Paralegal and Office Manager to a small law firm and I loved my job. Then one day things changed, I made a decision to work later than usual and the unthinkable happened. My husband and son were in a bad car accident, and my views changed. I realized that my family was more important than a job that I was constantly stressed out from, and always busy or running late.
Life after this incident was different. I made a huge effort to work less, stress less and be overall happier. I lost my job not long after the accident and it was a huge blessing. This allowed me to find a new job, where I could bring my little guy to work with me every day. I adored my job more than anything. I worked as an administrative assistant at a Montessori school and man it was amazing. Watching my little guy learn so much everyday, along with falling in love with each and every one of our students was the best thing ever. Unfortunately, in December 2015 the unthinkable happened again. Just days before Christmas, my son and I were in a terrible car accident. So, here is where my life as a stay at home mom comes into play.
We recently started our journey into homeschooling. We had a great headstart with our son being in a Montessori school for 2 years. He is a very bright boy, and enjoys learning new things each day. We use a mixture of Pre-K curriculum that we have purchased from wonderful homeschool moms and Montessori practices.
I also use a font that I downloaded from dafont.com called trace. I am able to type out letters that he is then able to trace to learn the flow of each letter. Once he has traced his letters, he tries to write them on his own. Some come out better then others, he is struggling with his “s” letters but trying so hard. We decided that we were going to start on the letters in his name, so that he can learn to write his name. So far we have acomplished the letters “s”, “t” and are currently working on “e”. Today he was actually able to write his name on his own, and I was so proud I almost cried!
I can not wait to see what else he learns! There is nothing more satasifying then watching your baby boy turn into a little boy right before your eyes. The pure joy and excitement he gets when he learns something new is just amazing. Each day brings new tasks, new adventures, new lessons, and so much love.