Category Archives: Caitlyn

Enjoy What You’re Doing

Ten or so years ago, hubby and I rang a bell at a Salvation Army Kettle.  It is a chilly project, but low stress and high fun.  That experience was before kids.  I decided a couple weeks ago it was time to do it again–as a family of five!!

So, this afternoon we bundled up (glad it wasn’t as cold today as it was earlier this week) and headed out to the Post Office.

We sang, we danced, we said Merry Christmas and thank you!

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We had lots of comments from people saying we looked like we were having fun.  One guy, motioned over to hubby as he danced to Dominick the Donkey, and said, “you gotta enjoy what you are doing!”

And we did.

We were out there 2 hours and 20 minutes.  There were no bell ringers when we got there, so we just started our shift a little early.  People responded well.  Our bucket was completely full when we returned it to the Salvation Army Citadel this afternoon.

Our toes were cold, but our hearts were full from being able to do our part to help.

Memories Fond Memories

Memories come up when you least expect them.  Sometimes it is nice to just hang on to them.

Today had a few of those moments.

My Caitlyn is 10 and growing like a weed. She only has about an inch to go before she is my height.  She is perfect and beautiful, I just can’t believe how tall she is.  When she was 9 months old one doctor diagnosed her with failure to thrive.  I’d say we have that issue licked 😉  Today she found a jacket shirt she liked at the store and decided to use some money she had saved from her birthday to buy it.  The size she chose?  a women’s medium.  Now, it is big on her, as daddy pointed out when I was lamenting her growing up too quickly, but still, she is comfortable in a women’s medium.  I am in a women’s medium–it’s not loose on me, but it fits.

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I remember like it was yesterday, holding a friend’s new baby and whispering to the baby, “my hubby  and I are hoping to have a baby like you some day.”  A little over a week later we found out Caitlyn was coming.

Another friend brought home a new baby this weekend.  Chatting with her got me thinking about that first night home with Caitlyn.  She had slept so well in the hospital.  Nobody warned me they don’t sleep the first night home.  I remember being blurry-eyed from sleep, not knowing what to do for my new bundle.  Finally I decided to sing her a song I have been singing my whole like.  I knew the words, but could not come up with the tune to save my life…so I made one up!

Sparks are a Flyin’

Back in August, for Caitlyn’s birthday, we got her a snap circuit kit.  It has parts and pieces for making almost 200 electricity projects.  She ignored it, for the most part, when we first got it.  I was kind of bummed.  I had heard from so many homeschoolers how great they were and how much their kids loved them.  And it was a dud with my daughter.

This week I learned that wasn’t exactly the truth.  Apparently, she had lost a key piece to the kit and was stuck.  Well, that problem has been solved.  Sue or Patrice lost our TV remote this week.  It is still missing, but while looking in one of the bedrooms, Patrice found Caitlyn’s missing piece.  Ever since, Caitlyn has been churning out project after project.

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Unfortunately, the kit, while it has the pieces and instructions to make 150+ projects, it does not have enough pieces to make the projects and keep them set up.  Each project can be made one at a time.

I have enjoyed watching her put together the various projects and my favorite part was when she looked at me today and said, “thank you for getting this for me!”

A little electric current of joy to mama’s heart!!

The Ever Wonderful Caitlyn

I think today we will just feast on the wonderful and lovely that is my oldest daughter, Caitlyn.

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We Ran Oh We Ran

Caitlyn and I ran our second 5k together today.  Well, not really together–she runs and then I come slowly up from the rear of the crowd…much later after she finishes.

Today’s race was a Turkey Trot.  The top finisher in each age bracket won a turkey.  Let’s just suffice it to say, I did not win a turkey.

But the weather was pristine.  Low sixties, sunshine–amazing.

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It was also the hardest I have ever run.  The course was all off road.  There were hills, so many hills!  And for many of them, you were turning in such a way that you were running on the side of the hill instead of in any manner of straight.  I almost cried twice, I kid you not, and I wanted to walk so badly, but my primary goal in every 5k I run is to do just that–run every step, and I did it this time too, just barely, but I did.  Caitlyn admitted she walked a few times, and honestly, that was probably wise, but I can be pretty stubborn and come heck or high water, I was going to run it all.

I ran step after step and finally, it was done!!!  I was once again frustrated with my time, but this race, that was greatly overshadowed by how proud I was to have finished and run the whole thing.

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And yes, I came home and started looking for our next race.  No matter how hard running is, I just keep going back for more.

Politics Here

Let’s just start off by saying I have no idea how I am going to vote in the upcoming Presidential election.  What I do know, is I cannot wait for the political ads and posts on Facebook to be gone.

I may still be struggling about whether or not I am going to vote at all, but that does not mean we have ignored politics in our homeschooling.  We have read several biographies, we have done a unit study, we have had many, many conversations about the positives and negatives of the Republican and Democratic candidates, and talked about what an Independent Party/candidate is.

In the unit study Caitlyn and Sue created a newspaper that included articles about the overall election process  and who the Presidential Candidates were, a letter to the editor concerning a local issue on the ballot, an overview of the requirements for voting in our state and what the voting process entails, how the candidates differ and how they are similar, an explanation of our two major parties, and an overview of women’s suffrage.

But our elections education has not been purely academic.

The girls’ have each explained, based on their understanding, who they would vote for.  I am standing here wracking my brain trying to remember what each of them said about their choice.  I know Patrice said she would vote for Hillary Clinton because “she is a girl.”  Patrice has also very sweetly asked me to vote for Hillary–“for me, please mommy?”  Caitlyn has had several thoughts on the issue, but the one that sticks out to me is she would vote for Hillary Clinton because Donald Trump “is a sore loser” (she has watched portions of each of the debates).  Sue said she would vote for Hillary Clinton “because she is a girl and because I don’t think she should be in jail, she was only trying to protect her e-mail and the country.”

I may still be trying to decide what to do when I am standing in front of the ballot Tuesday, but my girls have made up their minds!

Caitlyn has even flexed some of her democratic muscles.  The other day, every time someone disagreed with what she was doing or wearing, she declared, “It’s a free country!”

And then tonight the girls capped off their understanding of the election process by spontaneously presenting their own presidential debate.  Caitlyn was the moderator, Sue was the Republican Candidate, and Patrice was the Democratic Candidate.  They covered issues including homelessness, housing, schools, and what they would do to make America greater.  Patrice, on the topic of homelessness, said anybody that “wanted a house can come ask me, and I will put them in a hotel and build them a house.”  Sue, concerning schools said, “I will get better teachers and better food because nobody can learn on an empty stomach!”  Concerning making America greater Sue said she would stop terrorist attacks while Patrice said she would give money to the homeless.

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Our debate even had some “digs” in it as Sue told Patrice her answer was “a great comedy act.”  The girls, as you can see, dressed up for the debate–shoes optional, and they had suckers from their Halloween candy.

Of course, after the debate I had to explain to Patrice what a Republican was and what a Democrat was…she’s a 6-year-old work in progress.

I am really pleased with our overall study of Americas’ election process and what the girls have learned.  They’ve worked hard to understand the world around them and we’ve had some fun along the way; what more could I ask for?

 

 

Pounding Out the Miles

I started back to running August 16, right after the girls first cross country practice.  I watched them out there and just could not resist joining in.  I have logged between 6-9 miles a week since then.

I am not fast, my quickest mile in all of that was 13:37, but I am plugging away at about 15;35 on average.

Running is amazing.  It is not easy, but it gets easier somewhere late in the first mile.

I have run 5k with Caitlyn several times, as she has joined me on Sunday mornings to do a good run before church several times.  And then she joined me to do a 5k a few weeks ago.

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This Saturday, we have our second 5k–a Turkey Trot.

But I’ve decided to take it a step further…I would like to run a half marathon, 13.1 miles.  And I have someone with experience who is willing to help me figure out how to get there.

One of the moms from cross country has run several half marathons and a couple marathons…and she is willing to lend me her expertise.

Step one:  get stronger and lose some more weight over the winter since Michigan isn’t that conducive to much running at that time.  My personal plan is to run on the treadmill 3 times a week and do strength work 3 times a week.

Step two:  get out there and start running longer stretches when spring finally arrives.

Step three:  sign up for, and run a half marathon in October.

Oh boy!!!!

That  plan ought to get me stronger and thinner in no time, right?  It would be awfully nice to finally lose the rest of my baby weight–you know, since the baby is 6 years old and can read, add, and subtract…

Today was Hands On

Our first year of homeschooling I found so many incredible ideas for hands-on projects and activities.  It was fun, if I do say so myself.  My second year that dwindled, and last year was dismal.  We made it through our daily lessons of bookwork, but there just wasn’t any fun.  Last year was survival mode as I battled the bipolar disorder…But this year, this year, offered hope.

Hope, that we could have fun again.  That Patrice could enjoy some fo the hands-on activities similar to what we had done in the first year, when she was oblivious.

And I think, we have had more fun.  We are getting through material, going on field trips, and enjoying projects.  Today, we did two fun projects in art and science.

During art, we made cards for a friend in the hospital.

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This afternoon we did a science project learning how plant seeds might travel to other places in the world.  We “made” seeds and sent them flying.

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The best part was seeing Patrice not only get involved in the activity, but watching the video beforehand, and being able to explain what it was saying, and argue her point, successfully I might add, with her sisters.

Every day has it’s adventures, but today included some intentional fun!

 

Kind of Sad

Last night was another great night of Halloween fun.  The girls made their costumes earlier in the week, the weather was perfect last night, and there were very few Trick or Treaters, so people were very generous to my girls.  Caitlyn and Sue weighed their loot–7 lbs and 6 lbs respectively.  Sue’s candy haul weighed more than she did at birth!!

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We had so few Trick or Treaters that I put our candy out on the porch and we all went together.

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Caitlyn was a jellyfish, Sue was the Ocean Blue, and Patrice was Rapunzel.  They put them together all by themselves.

No help from mama.

I remember not too long ago when they needed my help to walk up to the doors, knock, say Trick or Treat, and Thank You.  This year I was just a chaperone.

And it made me kind of sad.  It was the first year my babies didn’t need me.  Okay, not kind of sad.  I actually walked from house to house holding back the tears.  Hubby says it is because I have done a good job raising them to be creative, confident girls.

I say, “where did my babies go???”

There She Goes

“Go Caitlyn Go!!”  I have yelled that countless times since August 16 when Caitlyn and Sue started cross country practice.

Caitlyn loved the running, Sue loved the social time.

I ached watching Caitlyn put her heart and soul into the running and see little success.  She ran with such determination at every practice, from her very first step to her last.  But again and again she was beat by her sister and her teammates.  And yet, she never wavered, she never gave up.

She ran at practice, she started running in the mornings with me.  I was so, so proud of her every single time.  All heart and determination.  And right at the end of the season we saw some of her power come out as she plowed through her last meet with just over a 10 minute mile.

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While she was running cross country, she also trained with me for a 5k (3.1 miles).  Yesterday was the day.  We got up before dawn to get a decent breakfast and head on our way.

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Don’t mind the scratches on my nose.  I fell a couple days before the race while taking a short walk.  I landed on my face and managed to break my glasses, scratch up my nose (not broken, as first feared), and bruised up my knee.

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A couple days before, my sweet girl had asked me if it was okay if she ran ahead of me for the first mile “you’ll catch up to me in mile 2 I’m sure.”  Well, she sure did pull ahead of me–and I never saw her again.  My Caitlyn finished the race in 34 minutes and 6 seconds.  She ran a mile pace of 10 minutes 58 seconds!!!  She finished in 2 place of the girls ages 10-13 who ran.  I couldn’t be more proud.  Honestly, I couldn’t.

She finished WAYYYYY ahead of me yesterday and as I finally ran up to the finish line, I heard a voice yelling, “go MOMMY go!!!!”

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I can’t wait to run with her again–and watch out cross country, we’ll be unleashing a powerhouse on you next season!