I'm just an ordinary girl doing ordinary stuff.

I just happen to be a single mom in the military.

My kids are part of the military too.

When I deploy, their heart breaks too.

They're strong little guys.

Being their mom is the most humbling experience I've ever had.

Follow the adventures

See if you can keep up with me as I serve my country holding my kids in my arms.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Crayon Art: The Koi Pond

I just posted an art project the boys and I did. It's called Crayon Art and its super easy and fun to do. You can read about all that here.

Each crayon chunk was an art piece to me. So I portrayed them as such. Today's featured Crayon Art is The Koi Pond.

In Phase II of the project, this piece reminded me of a bright orange koi fish at the surface of the water looking up. It's orange glow stands out from the dark water.

Other koi are portrayed but they are further down and display depth in the picture.

The final phase of the art piece portrayed a very different version of The Koi Pond. In this version, the movement of the water is emphasized. The first version was a darker, more dramatic image whereas this one is almost fun to view.

This is one of my favorite Crayon Art Pieces.

Crayon Art

For some time now I've been saving broken crayons. The boys love to color but they also love to pretend the crayons are swords. So I have been keeping a collection of broken crayons simply because I can't bear to see them go to waste.

Well today I was tired of seeing the box of dead crayons and I decided to do some art with them. I'm a huge nerd so I thought it would be okay to figure it out. But I wouldn't do it on my own of course.

Caden and Sean helped! Well ok, Caden helped and Sean provided us with company. We all had a ton of fun and they were both happy at the end.

We made giant crayon chunks out of the broken crayons!

First we gathered all the broken crayons and began unwrapping them. To make sure we stayed organized we placed the unwrapped crayon pieces in a bowl. Two boys, crayons and crayon wrappers make for a giant mess so it's always a good idea to try to be a little organized.

After wrapping them, we sorted them into their colors. All the greens (light and dark) together, all the reds, etc. This will help you distribute the colors the way you like.

Now that your colors are in order, you can get them ready for baking. Line your cupcake pans with foil and put your colors in each cup.

You will bake them for 10-20 minutes (depending in your preference) at 275 degrees.

If you'd like each cup to be unique, arrange the colors in a selected design. Remember, when they melt there's a good chance they'll stay in the same place--they'll just be gooey.

When they are melted to your satisfaction, take them out of the oven and let them stand to cool completely.

When they're done, you'll take them out of the foil and voila!! Fun crayon chunks!

Caden and Sean are super happy with these. :)

I made some of them into their own individual inspiration for art pictures. I'll post those soon.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Guess who has time to deep clean the apartment!  This girl!  Yay!  I've been on Christmas Break all week and I've been sOoOo HaPpY!!!  I love having time to do deep cleaning in my home.  It's so therapeautic.  But not only do I have time to deep clean, I have time to rearrange my furniture!  Because my apartment is so tiny, I have to make good use of the little space I have.  My living room is also my office.  :-)

My little guy, Sean, is a huge goofball.  After both boys dressed for Christmas pictures, Sean would not keep still for any practice shots at all.  He laughed, smiled with his eyes closed, made monkey faces, and kissey faces.  He definitely made it a lot of fun!

Caden is a bit more cooperative when it comes to picture taking.  He has always been my cheeser.  When I take pictures of him he usually asks me if he "smiled good."  Although Caden has his goofball moments, he is definitely more of a sweetheart. 
I stayed inside while the boys played in the snow.  I am such a baby when it comes to the cold.  The kids, all kids I suppose, play as if they couldn't feel the cold at all.  They threw snow at each other, made snow angels, and just laughed a lot.  I am so thankful for a white Christmas.  Caden and Sean love that Christmas looks different than the other seasons.  It comes with warm drinks, fires, presents and decorated trees.  But mostly, it comes white... if we're blessed enough.  :-)
Wherever and however you're spending Christmas, I hope it is filled with love and laughter.  And most of all I hope it is filled with your children's hugs.

The Joy of Art

All shades
Waxy happiness
Funny faces
Look what I did!
Anything I want
All colors

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Mind Changer

Leaving our apartment at sunrise, the boys didn't want to go to school.

"Caden, it's a beautiful morning. You're going to have fun. "

"No it's not. It's cold."

"But look at the sky!"

He stops and looks. His frown disappears. His eyes widen.
"Mommy. It's beautiful!"

"Isn't it? I think you're going to have fun today."


Monday, December 17, 2012


A poem I wrote a while ago. Enjoy!

Little socks
Little shoes
Little underwear
Giant squeals of laughter
Toys are everywhere

Snacks are needed
Thirsty too
The dog is wanting out
Dishes sit unwashed
And the TV's just too loud

Crayons rubbed
Onto the walls
The juice is on the floor
Someone bumped his head
And the dog is at the door

Ice pack healing
Pick up toys
Where did Caden go?
Wipe the spills, erase the purple
Follow Cheerios

Sean hugging
" I love you mommy"
Caden jumps "Surprise!"
Crumpled flowers just for me
Oh how God's blessed my life!

Featured Poem- The Invitation

I want to share this because it is beautiful.

The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.


I am where I am meant to be. And I am at peace with that.
Sometimes I get frustrated that I don't have more time, more money, more skills, etc. and every once in a while, like tonight, I stop and remember that God has me.
He has never let me go, even when I wonder if He has. I am where I am meant to be. And I am at peace with that.
Sometimes it feels as if I were in a tornado with everything moving so fast I feel as if I might get thrown in the winds. Time always feels like its running out. Money sometimes feels like it might just all slip away. And every once in a while I stop and remember that like a mom holding her crying baby, my God is holding me and whispering that I am safe.
I am exactly where I am meant to be. And I find peace in that.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Weird Sky Day

Today was cold and gloomy. The sky had a weird darkness to it.

But even then, I thought the sky looked really cool. It reminded me of one of those Tim Burton movies.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday Sunrise

I love driving to work in the morning. Today, my kids sang "The Ants Go Marching" as the sun rose.
Sean laughed as he sang the wrong words
and Caden got mad at him.
When we got to Sean's daycare, we all sat in the car and gazed out the windshield.
Caden said,
"Mom, it looks like the sky blew up!"
And it did.
The sky exploded with the sun's beauty,
sending the clouds
sailing over us.
An announcement that the day is starting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

If you're happy and you know it

Clap your hands!

Of the three ferrets, Squish is Caden's favorite.  She was neglected when I got her.  Skinny (you could see hip bones even) and with a bald tail (sign of stress), she was never really outgoing.  While my male, Sammy, was always the happy-go-lucky crazy ferret, Squish has always been more mellow and happy to just cuddle. 

Last night Caden and Squish were just too cute.  They were both in my tiny kitchen as I was cooking.  They sat together just hanging out.  Then, Caden thought it was just easier to lay down so Squish could lay on him.  Later Caden came back into the kitchen eating his Teddy Grahams.  Squish wanted to check it out, so he let her sniff it.  She wasn't interested in eating it- she was just being nosy lol.
Then, to ensure all cuteness was recorded, I caught him singing If You're Happy And You Know It, using Squish as a prop.  You've gotta see the YouTube video.



You are my sunshine.
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
when skies are gray!
Sunrises here are incredible.  I try to catch them every morning.
This was above a basebally field by Sean's daycare.
A friend of mine said,
"That sky is either really cool
or really scary."
I think it's really cool.  :)

Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
– Hosea 6:3

Monday, December 3, 2012


It started off a little rough.
I didn't want to wake up.
Sean didn't want to get dressed.
Bruce didn't want to go in his crate.
Caden didn't want anything I offered for a snack to pack.
So he got carrots.
Then he forgot his backpack.
The boys fought in the car because Sean said,
"I didn't forget MY backpack."
Caden said, "You don't even need one because you don't go to kinder!"
I gave Sean a huge hug and kiss when we got to his daycare class.
He and Caden hugged and then it turned into wrestling.
And the daycare doesn't allow that!
Dropped Caden off at his babysitter. Got another huge hug and kiss.
The rest of the day was a blur because I couldn't get to leave and see my crazy boys again.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Got a kid who has lots of questions??

For ages 4 and up

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Birthdays and Brothers

Sean's birthday is coming!
He will be four.  I can't believe it.
While talking about a birthday party, Caden expressed concern.
"Why can't I have a birthday?"
"I want to have presents too."
"I can't eat cake because I'm allergic to milk, remember?"
"I'll never have a birthday."
"If he has a party, I'll be sad."
Sean said,
"Caden, you have a birthday too!  And we'll have a party!"
"Caden, you can have one of MY presents."
"Mommy knows how to make no-milk cake because she's AWESOME."
"We can share my party!"
"But I'll be sad if you'll be sad."
They fight a lot.
They get in trouble together.
They tell on each other.
They promise to not be friends if they tell on each other.
They take each other's toys.
They make up with hugs.
They hide from mom together.
They say they're sorry.
They promise not to tell mom.
They share toys and play together.
They love each other and hate each other.
In the same hour.
Sometimes in the same fifteen minutes.
They will always be there for each other.

Simple Fun

Today we babysat my niece! 
The boys are always looking for entertainment.  So I wanted to be prepared.
I brought balloons.
We blew up a bunch of them.
White.  Blue.  Purple.  Pink.  Yellow.
They ran around as we threw them in the air.
Little balls of air.
Big balls of air.
Happy kids.
Allie got a kick out of all of them!

Caden drew faces on some of them.  LOL some of the faces looked funny.
I didn't tell him that.  ;)
Sean tried to blow up his balloon.  After many tries and much laughter he finally did.  :)

You are my sunshine

I woke up this morning to Sean's smiling face. "I love you Mommy!" It's the best way to wake up.
He started singing the song You Are My Sunshine but he always says "shunshine" instead of sunshine. :)
I love it.
Then Caden had a smile on his face. "You make me happy when skies are gray." He still had his eyes closed.
I love my kids.
I love being a mother.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hugs make me fly

Today was a great day. I spent all morning on a project with my coworkers. Then, we had to evacuate the building because the fire alarm went off! Lol it turns out there was a couch on fire. Don't ask. The crew and I all went to lunch at this really awesome pizza joint. You know the kind of pizza that could give you a heart attack? Yes that kind. The pizza was delicious.

After work I went to the daycare to pick up Sean. He ran to me squealing, "Mommy I had a great day!!" And then he hugged my leg and told me I was the best mom ever.
That would make any mom melt.

Then we went home to take care of the pets and pack up for a sleepover with my brother Jerome and his awesome wife and baby. We're babysitting tomorrow morning. :)

I am so in love with my family. I have two wonderful little boys who are growing so fast! I have my brother and his beautiful family nearby. I have great pets that make our little family even more entertaining! My coworkers are great people. I look forward to work every day. And most of all, I have God. My beautiful maker. I am forever taken back by His grace.

I hope your day is wonderful. I hope that you make every day worth living. And I hope you hug your kids and show them love!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mommy Sells Books Now

In Kindergarten, 100% of the children are reading.  Parents are excited and involved in their children's progress in developing learning skills.  I get super excited when I catch Caden trying to put the letters together to make a word.  We read one book when we get home from work and school and right before I start making dinner.  Then we read another one before bed.  This is normal, healthy parent-child activity.  Most children are active readers even through the next couple of school grades.

But research shows that the 100% of child readers drop dramatically down to 54% once they enter the fourth grade.  When they enter the eigth grade, only 30% of children are active readers.  In their senior year of high school, 19% are readers.  As you can see, after the fourth grade less and less children read at home.  So what happened in the fourth grade?  What stopped?

Some of you may respond by saying that when children hit the age of 9-10, they stop reading and start getting into other activities like sports.  Some may put the blame on video games.  And some may even say the kids at that age just aren't interested in reading.  I think that sure, all of those may be true.  However, there is a common denominator.

If you remember that 100% of kindergarten readers, think about how and when they read.  They don't do it on their own, remember?  Their parents read to them and as the children get better, the parents read along WITH them.  Well, once children are able to read on their own and the school teachers are taking over with guiding the kids into more advanced reading, parents tend to take a step back.  And what happens once you're comfortable with something?  You tend to stop worrying about it... and you become less involved with the maintenance of it.  Well, this is what happens to reading in our homes.  This is why 100% of the children who read drops to only 54% once they finally grasp the concept of reading.  It's time to keep your foot in the door-- don't step away. 

The National Research Council states, "There is strong evidence of a relationship between reading regularly to a child and that child's later reading achievenment."  Research experts predict that in the new millennium, math and reading illiteracy may impede three quarters of American adults chances to obtain any but the lowest paying jobs.  It is time to promote the continuance reading in our children's lives.  We don't have to read TO them like we did when they were in Kindergarten.

Reading together is a wonderful way to bond with our children.  Make it a special activity between you and your child.  Sharing your thoughts about the recently read book is a way to get to know each other as people and not just mom and child.  Reading is important for your child--it should be important to you.

I learned about Usborne Books & More from a friend of mine who hosted a party.  The enthusiasm of the consultant about her books made me interested in the company and when I got to hold and flip through the pages of her display books, I instantly fell in love.  Usborne publishes books so that they are appealing to children of all ages by using vibrant colors, texture and even multiple types of binding so that they offer sturdiness that can stand up to wear.  After receiving a few books I ordered at the party, my childhood love for reading came back to me and I decided to help my own children by promoting literacy.  I became an independent consultant. 

I just started, so I'm not quite successful yet.  However, I didn't do it for the money.  I did it for my family.  Please support me on my journey by checking out my website and consider ordering some wonderful books for your young ones.  If you'd rather start your own journey, I'd be really excited to get you some information on joining Usborne Books & More.

I can't wait to get to know you!

Follow my page on Facebook!  http://www.facebook.com/#!/thefamilythatreads

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sigh... they're growing...

The boys and I spent the weekend at my brother Jerry's house with his wonderful wife and kids.  Today, Jerry showed the boys how to mow the lawn!  They were so excited to push that great big lawn mower.  Sean was so happy when Jerry announced they were all going to cut the grass that he was the first to run to him.

It will never cease to amaze me how fast time flies.  This year has certainly sped like crazy.  I need to blog more so I can hold onto as many memories as the internet allows me to!  I have a tendency to get tunnel-visioned and just head straight for the next checkpoint and it isn't until the adrenaline rush is over that I stop and breathe and realize what exactly is happening.  I get that way when I'm preparing to leave for a temporary duty away from my kids, trying to meet a huge deadline at work, or just trying to make it through the week.  This fall, though, really hit me pretty hard.  Because I realized... my kids are growing so quickly!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cheap Fun

Yesterday was awesome. The boys and I were outside from 0930-1230. We played with silly string, bubbles, and wrote on our patio floor and out apartment fence (shhh, don't tell) with sidewalk chalk. After a good crockpot chicken lunch, the boys were ready for more outdoor fun. But it was HOT out. Soooo... What's a mom to do?

A few weeks ago I bought a couple of jump ropes for the kids. I didn't realize til I unraveled them that they were the super long ropes. So yesterday I used them as imaginary laser beams. Then I took a couple of our hula hoops and put them on the floor by the laser beams. Voila!! Indoor friggin obstacle course.

We had fun seeing who could get through the course without touching anything but the floor. Caden decided that jumping over the laser beams was too easy so he said we had to crawl under them. Easy for them!

By the time we were done I had two kids so tired that they put themselves to bed for their nap. :) After nap, we worked on art and alphabets. This was an excellent way to have a fun filled day without worrying about the bank account.

2 jump ropes: $3 each
2 hula hoops: $4 each
2 bubble sets: $1 each
3 silly string cans: $1 each
1 pack sidewalk chalk: $1 each

Total: $20 with $15 of it a one-time expense so that leaves $5 actually lost for the day. Not bad!!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Leaving Again

A couple of weeks ago I left my boys for a one-week TDY to Virginia to attend a Non-Commissioned Officer Leadership retreat.  The week prior was crammed with crazy deadlines, on-the-spot demands and late nights.  Not to mention, handing off all my work to my second in command so he could successfully manage the shop.  It wasn’t until 2 am the Sunday of my departure that my anxiety about leaving kicked in.

I hadn’t slept.  I spent all night making sure I had everything ready to go.  At two o’clock it hit me.  I was leaving my kids again.  Sure it would only be for a week instead of nine months again.  Still, though, Caden just recently complained about a toothache the night before and Walmart was out of Oral Gel.  And yesterday, Sean asked me why he couldn’t come with me on my trip. 

Every day for the last week, I counted down the days with both kids, reminding them that I was leaving but that I’d be back.  “Just for five days, right Mommy?” Caden asked.  I had been so busy that not only had I not prepared for the trip until the last minute but I didn’t prepare emotionally to leave my kids.

So there I sat on the couch, checking Facebook and glancing at the clock every ten minutes.  At three-thirty, my hands started to shake and my belly began to cramp.  The taxi was due to arrive at four.  I looked at the boys as they slept. 

Caden was asleep in what looked like a very uncomfortable position.  I picked him up to move him and his little brown eyes slowly opened.  With a sigh, he wrapped his legs around me and snuggled his face into my chest.  Breathing in one last whiff of his scent, I held him a little tighter before laying him back down.

Sean was curled face-down with his knees almost to his chest and his hands beneath his belly.  He has always been such a cuddler.  Even in his sleep he made sure the pillow snuggled him.  I pulled his blanket over his back and kissed his head.

At three fifty-eight, the cab driver called to tell me he was outside.  Marie stood to hug me.  I felt my chest tighten and a lump rose in my throat.  “Okay,” I said as I headed to the door.  “Let’s not talk or I’ll cry.”

She smiled and nodded her head.  “Okay.”

I walked out, looked over my shoulder at her and said, “I love you.”  Without giving her a chance to say it back, I hurried to the cab.

I don’t think it matters really how long you’ll be gone.  The moment you step outside you know you won’t be there to see them wake up in the morning or hear them whisper and giggle at night when they know they need to be asleep.  Of all the things one could possibly face being in the military, leaving your loved ones behind is always the hardest.

Friday, February 17, 2012


"Oh cool, I should do that one day."

"Hmm, maybe I should look into that."

"I gotta try that!"

Have you ever noticed how many times you say you're going to try something but never do it?  You're involved in a cool conversation and you find yourself thinking "Wow, I wanna do that."  But you walk away from the discussion already deciding that you'll probably never do it.  It's just something nice to think about.  You make up excuses for why you can't.  Your schedule doesn't allow it.  You don't have enough money.  You can't find a sitter.  Sometimes the reasons you can't are really valid reasons.  And sometimes?  Sometimes they're just excuses.  Well, I'm pretty notorious for making excuses.  Finally a friend of mine kind of cornered me and I couldn't come up with any reasons.  So I did it.

My friend Daniel sometimes talks about his son's Capoeira class and how much fun it is.  I've heard about the Brazilian martial art.  It's incredible- really something that moves you when you watch it.  Capoeira is a martial art that combines fighting, music and dancing.  There's a lot of history behind it and is pretty popular today.  So while listening to Daniel talk about it one day, I said "Man, I gotta look into signing Caden up for a class."  And WHAM.  As soon as the words left my mouth, Daniel already had a response, "Cool, well there's a special right now where the first month is free and if you like it you can sign up for a permanent place in the class."  Uh.... did I really mean it when I said it?

To make a long story short, after a few "Maybe another time" lies, Daniel's wife gave me a discount card and told me exactly where the class is.  I was scheduled to work a late shift the day of class so Daniel said, "I'll switch with you.  Take Caden to the class."

We went last night.  We loved it.  Why was I so hesitant in the first place?  Because I get stuck in my comfort zone, my daily routine.  One more new thing requires a new change to my schedule.  I am pretty darn introverted so I hate new activities that involve being with other people.  But last night I remembered that it's not always about me.  Caden had a blast!  Why wouldn't I want to get him into a class that was different from regular school playtime? 

I guess what I learned out of this is this:  It is healthy and OK to step out of your comfort zone and do something that you think would be fun.  Instead of sitting around thinking how much you wish you could do XYZ, get out and do it.

Caden's teacher told me that Caden will do very well in the class.  She said he is physically strong and agile and will be just fine.  I'm glad I was almost FORCED to step out of my routine to let my little guy learn something new and fun.