There is Always so Much More to Discover.

I’ve always wanted to travel and experience new places. My dreams were not so far fetched, or so I thought. I considered that since my dreams were within my own country they would be more realistic. That I could just get a map, close my eyes, point and then go, but alas, it’s not simply that easy. At least not for me.

I’ve lived in the same area for 20 years now and I’ve done some visiting of other states, I even lived at a beach in Florida briefly, yet where I am has always been “home” to me.

I’m not saying I want to go run off and live somewhere else, but I know there’s a possibility to just fall in love with somewhere else. I know I don’t know everything or every place out there, I’m sure no one really does. There could be a perfect town or city just waiting for you, but you’d never know because you’ve never been. Some people don’t ever get to leave where they are and I don’t want that to be me.

I’m a mom, my husband and I have a large family. We do a lot of “adulting” so to speak, and sometimes feels like we have so much responsibility to where we are that we don’t make traveling a priority.  I would love to be able to go further than just 5 hours away and actually see different things, not the same old things all the time.

I want to see monuments, I want to see natural sights, I want to visit all the “largests and smallests” along the way, I want to know what all the fuss is about for different areas that are the “must sees”, I want to try as many little diner/dives that I can find. There is so much out there to see and I only have one time around to see it.

We bought an RV because I thought it’d be perfect for our large family and that we’d be able to travel with it, yet for nearly a year it’s sat parked with only taking it once to visit a lake 2 hours away. There are moments when I’m like this was such a waste, but then I get sad thinking of getting rid of it. It feels like LIFE just gets in the way sometimes; work, school, pets, money, scheduling. Not to mention how difficult it is to go anywhere without excessive planning, especially with a family our size. It will happen though, eventually. We will travel more!

I was on Facebook this morning and came across this site MapLoco that allows you to create a map of the states you’ve been. That’s when I knew for sure, we will go to each one even if it takes years to do it.

Here’s my map of states I’ve visited:

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You can create your own map here: http://m.maploco.com/visited-states/

I collect magnets and pennies everywhere I go. Not just the states, but places within the states. Regrettably, I didn’t always have the opportunity to get a magnet or penny from some places I went. One day though, I would love to have a huge collection of these. I love to create the memories.

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There is Always so Much More to Discover.

Celebrating Earth

We love the outdoors and enjoying everything the Earth has to naturally give us year round. On Earth Day this year we took the kids to the museum for an event they were having.

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They got to make little bug catching cups that could hang around their necks and they got bug tattoos

and did little animal/insect crafts.

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We stopped by the plant table but because of the drive home being over 30 minutes long we didn’t want to risk the soil cups dumping over in the van. We also stopped by the table discussing the Sun safety and what it does for our planet, about the eclipse coming up in August and how to watch it, and of course more tattoos.

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In between going table to table the kids wanted to walk through and look at the museum things. Nothing had changed from the last time we came, but they still enjoyed walking through.

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We have many more outdoors plans this year and I got a new camera, so there will be a ton of great pictures I look forward to taking.

My flowers are blooming beautifully at home and they make the front patio smell nice when the breeze hits just right.

Look at these adorable little guys (Yellow Bellied Sliders), ready for a feeding, they all gather when I walk by and all I can think of is “Feed me Seymour” (Little Shop of Horrors)… then “mine, mine, mine” (Finding Nemo) as they are chasing down the pellets.

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Celebrating Earth

In case you lost track of time

Welcome to the end of April. I’m going to use this entry to update any followers as to what’s going on in my life since I’ve been gone quite a while without writing a post. Sometimes it just seems impossible to remember to maintain it honestly. So here we are, in Spring! It’s been a very interesting month.

Our youngest is about to turn a month old on the 30th. Yep, she’s finally here. I can’t believe it’s been a month already, but it has. She was born March 30th at 5:11pm 6 lb 15oz and 19.5″ long. She came naturally which was a first for me out of the 6. My water had broke at 7:50am while I was in the process of waiting at the preschool for them to open their doors at 8:00am. Needless to say, I’ve never had my water break before on it it’s own, so I was a bit excited and nervous and kind of scared. I had no contractions so I just waited those 12 minutes patiently while calling to make arrangements with my mother and to let my husband know (at work) that it was time to go to the hospital. 9 hours later and voila, beautiful baby girl! I’m breastfeeding of course, as I’ve done with all my others. Everyone adores her and all the children are very happy to have a new baby sister, for now at least, ha.

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My oldest, the 5th grade homeschooler, is about to be finishing up her course work. Can you believe it!? It was a 36 week course that we’re about to be finishing up in the next 2 weeks. It was definitely a very trying experience and one I’m not likely to repeat with any of the children. It could just be the attitudes, the lack of her motivation and willingness to learn and comprehend. I’m probably just not the best “teacher” for her as far as standard curriculum goes. I did my best, we did our best and we made it through it, but we’re looking forward to starting back to public school in the fall.

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My 8 year old son with ADHD has excelled in school tremendously since being medicated in November 2016. He’s gotten A’s & B’s in his 2nd, 3rd and going on 4th quarter report. He’s even scored well on the NNAT2 test that he has been invited to join a group called Talented Development where he will be working with an Academically Gifted Resource Specialist once a week in a group of similar students for the remainder of the year. In the following school year he could be working with AG kids/courses as long as he maintains a 3.0 GPA. We’re very proud of him and his achievements.

My 5 year old son is going in for his ADHD evaluation next month. He has been giving his Kindergarten teacher and school staff gray hairs since the beginning, but there was nothing I could do since his pediatrician can’t or won’t diagnose under 6 years old. There were no other options for me with him until then, so you can see how starting school in August and not turning 6 until 6 days before school lets out has made this school year very difficult. Thankfully though considering he has demonstrated ALL the characteristics of his older brother before his diagnosis, that I’m confident that putting him on the same medication will result in the massive changes that his older brother went through and will make the next school year 100% better.

Cap & Gown pictures were yesterday for my preschooler. She has an exciting month coming up, turning 5 years old and graduating preschool. She’s had such an amazing school year and has gone above and beyond the expectations of learning for the whole year. Her report cards were magnificent and her behavior was excellent. Her teachers just adore her and I know she’s probably going to miss it very much but I’m hoping she’ll enjoy Kindergarten just as much.

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My homebody for this last year is finally going to be starting preschool himself in the Fall. He’s looking forward to it. I just finished the last 2 forms yesterday when they called me in to confirm his placement in the 2017-18 school year. That will leave just me and the little miss at home for the next 4-5 years once they all start back to school, which is only a few months away. They let out May 26th and will be going right back probably the 2nd week of August.

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We have some fun things in store coming up so I’ll write about some adventures & experiences soon!

In case you lost track of time

Gender Reveal

So of course we didn’t want to be surprised and have been waiting quite a while to find out what our little one was going to be. Mainly so we could go ahead and shop and prepare a nursery and to stop the guilt of calling it an IT.

So what will it be?

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I could hardly sleep the night before. I was so anxious about figuring it out.

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We sat in the waiting room for a bit and I didn’t think at the time that they wouldn’t let my three year old go back until the end. Which made my husband have to sit out there with them until it was close to the end of the scan, which took 30+ minutes. I felt so much better now that we had the anatomy scan done and the baby is super healthy and doing great in development.

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She waited to reveal the gender for when she went out and got them from the waiting room and brought them back. She did some searching and showed us on the monitor that it was a………..

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So now we know that and our little one can now have a name and be called a she/her instead of an IT. She now evens us out. I currently have 2 girls and 3 boys. Now it will be 3 girls and 3 boys. With the step kids it totals 4 girls and 4 boys. Perfect.

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I had a prenatal visit right after the ultrasound and they checked my weight and blood pressure and the baby’s heart rate, everything is great. The ultrasound says she weighs 11 ounces.

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We’re half-way there which means 20 more weeks until our due date. We’re going to be decorating the girls room / nursery before the baby arrives. Now that we know she’s a girl we know what we need to buy for her that we didn’t have already. It’s a lot more peaceful in my mind knowing instead of the nagging mystery. The longest I ever went in my pregnancy without knowing was my 5th, I didn’t find out he was a boy until a month before he was born. And let me tell you, that was nerve racking.

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Gender Reveal

How much love do you want?

I’m a big fan of custom artisan work. I love the creativity and beauty in the products of these artists. I adore walking through farmers markets and festivals and looking at all the work other people do. All the time and dedication in each piece. It’s incredible and inspiring. Of course artisan work is going to be more costly than the mass-produced products you find in the common department stores, but being handmade and covering costs and at least some time, it’s to be expected and should be appreciated.

One of my favorites is where I buy my custom jewelry MADE WITH LOVE BY LAURETTE
(affiliate link) Her jewelry is one of kind and truly made with love. I love browsing all of her creations because it’s magnificent how beautiful all her pieces are. They make great gifts for yourself, friends and family for any occasion. I love my bracelets from her and I wear them all the time. Every time I put them on I think about how neat they are and how much time and effort went into making them. It makes me appreciate them that much more.

She doesn’t stop at just bracelets. There are earrings, necklaces, awareness, and even cremation/memorial jewelry also. She can even make custom matching sets! Her work is just great. You can check her out at the link above or below. I’m sharing purely based on the love of her work and wanting to help make it seen because it is beautiful.

Made With Love Etsy
Made With Love Facebook

How much love do you want?

July Weekend RV Trip & Expenses

CAMPING TRIP  & EXPENSES FOR OUR FIRST TRIP IN THE RV

2 ADULTS & 5 CHILDREN

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DESTINATION
Falls Lake State Recreation Area – Holly Point Campground
July 29th-July 31st
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DISTANCE TRAVELED
From DANVILLE, VA to WAKE FOREST, NC (1 hour and 29 min)
77.4 miles (154.8 miles round trip)

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MISC PURCHASES BEFORE OUR TRIP
$50.00

GAS
$110.00 to fill tank on RV and only used 1/4 for whole trip
TOTAL USED  est. $28.00

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FOOD
We packed groceries that cost us $20
Then we spent $25 on ordering pizza
Spent $9 on some snacks on the drive back
TOTAL = $54.00

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CAMPGROUND
2 nights with all hookups (Friday & Saturday night)
TOTAL $48 + $6 reservation fee = $54.00

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ENTIRE WEEKEND TRIP COST    $186.00
Kids had a good time = PRICELESS!

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July Weekend RV Trip & Expenses

Eccentric Kids: Breaking Gender Norms

My son’s LOVE to sing and dance and dress up and play with dolls with their sisters. They are a bit eccentric and we’re okay with that.

We don’t have the mindset that it’s wrong to let boys wear dresses or hairbands or high heels or playing with dolls if that’s what gives them joy and amusement. If our daughters want to play in the dirt, wear tough fake tattoos or wear t-shirts, ball caps and jeans instead of dresses that’s fine too. We don’t believe it’s going to lead them down the road to homosexuality because we don’t believe that’s a choice, we believe it’s genetic. (not trying to burst anyone else’s bubble of beliefs)

I don’t see anything wrong with my son’s looking up to princesses as heroins. I don’t see anything wrong with letting my son’s prance around in girl clothes and sing to their favorite songs, especially the Disney ones. I don’t see anything wrong letting them play with barbies, dolls, tea-parties, dollhouses, or (girly) toys and even girl clothes the like.

My son’s just like my daughter’s like to have their nails painted. They like their hair brushed. They like doing just about everything their sister’s like doing and vice versa. They enjoy playing with their sisters even if it means turning away from their trucks, blocks, monsters and super hero figures… even though most the time it’s all included.

When Disney’s Frozen came out, my boys (ages 3 and 5) were obsessed. They wanted to be the Snow Queen. One of their favorite pass-times was dressing up as Elsa and singing “Let It Go” through the entire house, that movie was on repeat all day long. (thankfully that has subsided lol but it was still cute, the photo below was my 3 year old singing)

It’s all the same things I used to do with my brother and he was the only boy with three sisters, so a lot of the time if he wanted someone to play with it had to include “girl” things. I know my children’s likes and dislikes will change over time. We have 3 girls and 3 boys, for now we’re just letting them free-play as they like.

It breaks my heart to know that so many people including parents shame children for having an imagination and innocence to playing dress-up and like things that may not be “normal” for their gender.

One day my son said he liked pink and my other son said “You can’t like pink that’s a girl color.” And my husband chimed in “One of my favorite colors is pink.” He’s tried to explain to the children that colors don’t mean boy or girl. Just like toys aren’t specifically meant for girls if a boy likes it. Pink or not. Since then they felt okay to say they likes purples and pinks and turquoise. I don’t want them to feel like they have to hide behind what society thinks is right for their gender. I don’t want my kids to have to feel like they have to hide who they are or who they want to be.

I will let my children express themselves in play and dress-up all day long and will not tolerate anyone telling them they can’t. Telling them “they need to stop, they aren’t girls”, “get him out of that dress, he’s not gay” really boils my blood. Who said they were trying to be girls in the first place? Just because they have fun and are breaking the gender norms? I wish some people would stop being so old fashion, closed-minded, molding children to be sexist and pushing their gender views on them. I will never tell my son that he can’t do something because he’s not a girl and I will never tell my daughters they can’t do something because they are not a boy. (a part from reproductions of course)

We do a lot of play activity that is “all gender” because it helps both our girls and boys play equally without the anxiety or pressure from the stereotypes of society and what’s expected of them in the world. If they all want to play in dirt, they do. If they want to paint their nails, they do. If they want to do their hair, they do. If they want to play dress up, they do. If they want to draw fashion outfits, they do. If they want to ride bikes, they do. If they want to go swimming, they do. If they want a tea party, they do. If they want to play barbies, they do. If they want to play trains or cars, they do. If they want to bake, they do. If they want to help cook, they do. If they want to play sports, they do. If they want to dance, they do. If they want to sing, they do. I can’t stress this enough, I will always tell my children they can do whatever they want to do regardless their gender.

I don’t believe in shaming boys for being a little more sensitive than others or girls for being more tough than others. There is a difference in exploring the different gender roles that they are learning as children than a child who truly is unhappy with being the gender they are because they know and feel they are different. Even so not necessarily meaning they are homosexual, but even if they were, I would accept that with open arms as well. I will always accept my children for who they are. Straight, Homosexual or Indifferent. I do not believe letting them play as children innocently do is going to effect that in the slightest.

 

This picture was after they were walking through the house laughing and giggling and my daughter told me to take a picture. Afterwards they did their own fashion show and included 2 of their other siblings to dress in the opposite attire. Silly kids. All in good fun. You can just see the joy they have in just having fun and that’s just CLOTHES! The positive things are: they were playing peacefully together not pulling each others hair out, they were laughing and smiling, they were bonding, they were happy. Isn’t that all that matters?

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Proud free-play mom all the way!

#freeplay

Eccentric Kids: Breaking Gender Norms