We have been in a hotel…for over a month… I told you we were gypsies…anyways, as you can imagine life is pretty interesting with lots of little ones in a hotel for a month. And, (yep I totally just started a sentence with “and” despite telling my kids that it’s not acceptable to do so) despite what my crazy little people think, school MUST go on. Well, for my sanity it must go on!!

Some days are fantastic and we get to all of our subjects and get to do extra fun things and some days I feel like we chase squirrels all day and spend our free time collecting nuts to attract more squirrels. However, most days, are a decent mix of the two which is good.

Hopefully, we won’t be in this hotel too much longer and will be able to get settled again soon. Have you ever had to homeschool while in a hotel relocating before?

McGuffey’s Readers

We are delayed readers here. In a house of boys I don’t do serious attempts at reading before the shre of six. That being said, I teach phonics and not sight words, so when it clicks for my boys they seem to rapidly soar through the next several levels.


(Part of Lesson 1 in McGuffey’s Primer.)

Now, this want my first plan. I simply wanted to start getting Pilot to read so Radar’s parents would get off my back about why my three year old want reading yet. So, when Pilot was for I started teaching him sounds. We instantly tried pushing reading and he was NOT ready for it…in fact, he wasn’t really ready for it for almost three years. However, hearing my in laws in my mind (and ear) we continued and we stressed and we butted heads…and then one day he brought his book to read to new and he suddenly knew ALL the words. He suddenly had no problem reading at level…and then at one, then two, then three plus grade levels ahead. Now, he reads well above level and I forget we ever started do roughly.

However, I didn’t learn the first time. When Sketch was ready I started him at four…and then put it off because it stressed me out so much. When Bones came around my goal was to start at five (I was learning see) but then I had another baby so it got poor off until he was six.. and then when he was about six ands a half we got serious and buckled down.


(Part of Lesson 18 – the last lesson in his Primer.)

One of my favorite resources are our McGuffey’s readers. Seriously, you can talk to your grandparents and they probably remember these things. They are fantastic. Bones started the Primer about a year ago but struggled so much I put it off. Two to three months ago we tried again and he just got it! On Friday Bones finished his Primerand now he starts Book 1…and man oh man was he period of himself. Shoot, I was beyond period of him!! He has come so far!

Record Keeping

I love the idea of a super fancy, super hip method of keeping a running record of the days we do school… but at the end of the day, I just never follow through with those methods. They’re much too laborious and I just don’t like wasting my time on them. Instead, I prefer this simple…almost seemingly archaic method… and believe it or not it is ridiculously simple! (I have to say, I copied this from http://www.allinonehomeschool.com because…well, because we are using their program. I might recreate my own later but for now this suffices.) 


This is so ridiculously simple….but brilliant all at the same time!! There’s a chart…it has 180 squares that are numbered 1-180. For each day we do we write in the date. They can then color them. (I should add in that I print one for each child.)  Usually Pilot and Bones wait until the end of a row and Sketch colors them in each day but whatever you want to do works. You don’t have to even color them in but my artsy (and fartsy) dudes think it’s more fun that way.

Easy enough? I think so!
How do you keep track of your attendance days?

Double Digits!

I’m not sure I’m ready for this but Pilot is officially in the double digits. Now he is perfectly content being ten…but this mama’s heart isn’t so sure.

I love all my boys but this one…this one made me a mama for the first time…and now he’s ten!! This one was born during a deployment and so it was just the two of us until Radar came home when he was six weeks old.

Pilot is my little adult. He is so mature and responsible we often find ourselves forgetting he’s only a boy himself. He has the fortunate gift that everything generally comes very naturally to him and though he’s only ten this boy has his life already mapped out for himself.

He has a get’er done attitude much like his dad’s. If he sees something that needs done he is very content doing it. He loves to play sports and after ten years he is FINALLY enjoying reading! Now he lives to curl up in a comfy spot with a blanket and read.

Today, I watched as Red’s face lit up when he saw Pilot and my heart just purred with love. This boy, the one that will clean you out in a game out poker, rides his bike like a bmx pro, he surfs, and skatevosrds… He’s so delicate with his baby brother…He is so thoughtful, so loving, so willing, and so able.

I’m not sure what this double digit phase will bring for us, and though it saddens me immensely, it also gives me a bit of excitement to see what is all in this young man’s future because I know it’s going to be great!


Today, Sketch turns nine!! This is his last year in the single digits and I can hardly believe it. Last night, I was mulling over some photos of him for a simple collage and I couldn’t believe how much my little man has changed on me.

For example, I forgot just how blonde his hair used to be…and now he pretty much has brown hair. It’s crazy, I didn’t even notice it changing. It’s like I woke up and he was a brown haired boy. But look, I’ll prove it with a rare photo of his toddler years.


See, blonde haired boy!! Now, his hair is almost as dark as Radar’s hair. Not only has his hair changed but the boy is only a foot shorter than I am. This makes both him and Pilot quite thrilled.

He is my lover. He likes to wrestle with his brothers but he’d much rather draw, color or create. Part of his name means “defender of mankind” and that he truly is. If he sees somebody being picked on he’s the first to step in and ensure they’re not alone and I pray he forever maintains that same compassion. He has such a sweet soul.

He is my artist. He spends hours doodling in his notebooks and because of this we have a vast assortment of notebooks floating around but he draws in them all. When I flip through them I love looking at his thoughts and I can’t wait to see where this passion will take him in life because I’d be surprised if this isn’t part ofhis future.
He’s my lone wolf and a stubborn one to boot. He has no issue standing alone. He’d prefer to have others with him but he has no problem jumping to the aid of another and being the only one to do so. He also had no issue standing for what he believes in despite other people standing with him. Some people say stubbornness us a bad quality but I firmly believe it can be a fantastic one if learned to be channelled properly.  Not only that, he becomes so focused that he doesn’t even realize he well have spent hours working on something. I know adults less dedicated to their cause!

He is my Sketch! People often say that I need not baby/savor my big boys when I have little boys still but the truth of the matter is that I have but one Sketch. He is irreplaceable and I love him more than words can say. He will always be that tiny little six pounds, eleven ounce baby we brought home and we worried as we’d never had such a tiny baby. He was the first baby his daddy got to see be born! He was my first and (thus far) only c-section. He is also my child who tends to resemble his daddy the most which I love! He will always be the oddball toddler who refused to touch any condiments (seriously, what kid hates ketchup?) and yet he loved food so passionately that he’d cheer when it was did time!


So, happy birthday Sketch! I pray that despite being in a hotel for your birthday, you’ll have a great day and know just how much we LOVE watching you become a young man and how much we LOVE you!!

Chicken Nuts

Recently we took the kids to McDonald’s to play, yes, normally we’d have gone to a park but it was stormy raining, so McDonald’s play area it was!

Radar and I sat there for three hours as they ran off energy and right before we were headed to the car Walter runs up to us, and loudly shouts, “Mama I’m hungry, can I have some chicken nuts?” Radar and I about keeled over we were laughing so hard and Walter, having caught his mistake, instantly started cracking up too.

The older three were in the tubes above Walter when he asked for chicken nuts and having heard it came tumbling down laughing hysterically. Walter thought he was the absolute funniest guy. Thankfully, there was nobody in the room so we didn’t get to share that laugh with anybody….and yes, chicken nuggets are officially chicken nuts in my home…BOYS!


….the jellyfish are attacking!!!!


Okay, well they are not attacking everybody…just poor Pilot. While wrapping up our day he was sung by a jellyfish’s tentacle. He came up to me freaking out saying his arm was in excruciating pain and it was both stinging and numb. Well, sure enough I watched as he attempted to peel this thing odd of him but he dropped it and it reattached to his arm!


(The red mark is six hours later and above it you can see tentacle marks all over his arm!)

By the time he finally got it off of himself it had got his neck, side, back of the hand, arm and face… the jellyfish totally won that round. To pay it safe because of the number of sings we took him to the ER and cow to find out he had a normal reaction to the dying of a jellyfish! Poor kid but he now has an awesome story to tell!!

Beach Time!


After a fairly stressful homeschool week I needed a break. My kids were tired of being cooped up in the house and so was I. I informed Radar we were going to go for a drive to see what we could see and though he wasn’t thrilled about the idea he went along with it. We ended up, after quite the drive, at the ocean.


I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the ocean. There’s something so awe-inspiring looking out at the vastness of the ocean and catching just a glimpse of just how big this world is. On top of that though, I love watching my children playing in the water. Adobe of their earliest and forest memories revolve around the water and we realized how much we miss it! We didn’t have towels or a change of clothes for them, and our trip ended in the ER (see my next post)…but there’s something so peaceful there about being at the beach.


Call me crazy but smelling the salty air and hearing the tides rolling in and out calms me. It was exactly what I needed after such a hard week. Returning to the east coast reminds me just how gorgeous our west coast beaches are though and makes me miss them more. However, it was just the therapy I needed. Now, to plan an entire weekend there with no ER trips!



I’m going to start by saying that we are extremely fortunate. Typically speaking all five of our children that are in school enjoy school. In fact, my pre-k and kindergarten guys get mad when the weekend rolls around and there is no work to do.

That being said we have had a hard few weeks with Sketch. He’s a very bright boy but he’s nine and he’d much rather play…or clean…or anything other than school work. I’m all for having fun but lately we have had issues with him getting up in the middle of a lesson and going to play with his siblings’ toys. He doesn’t want to do any of his work…and I’ve kind I’d beat my head about options for him. We live in a state where he has to be tested this year and I love his free spirit but part of me thinks he just needs to buckle down and do his work.

Now I’m not a huge workbook fan, he doesn’t have lots of busy work or tedious writing assignments. He normally enjoys school when he allows himself to engage himself but there are days he hates school. He does deal with TBI issues though and I’m wondering if that’s affecting his concentration. So starting next week we are going to attempt a few new ideas and see if they help him maintain his focus a bit better.

Do you have one (or more) that are a bit more difficult to teach? How do you handle it?

…nope not MINE

Eating out is fun.
Eating out with children can be fun.
Eating out with small children is pushing it.
Eating out with seven small children…. not so much.

That was our experience, and if you happen to be one of the poor patrons dining nearby, I humbly apologize. Normally, my children know to behave while we are out about but you see, we had just come from the grocery store and all their”behave power” was expelled whilst walking through the store rapidly BEGGING for every sugary goodie they could feast their eyes on….which when there are seven of them…that’s A LOT!

Anyways. It was kind of late, We were all The adults were kind of tired and the kids were wired and ready to play some more. Thankfully they all figured out what they wanted to eat quickly and I actually took the longest gecause I had Red in my arms (he’s already for months people, not cool) and Walter talking my ear off in decibels far too loud for pleasurable dining experiences for those next to him(but thankfully not so loud we were getting dirty looks…yet).

Now, normally they all behave super well and people comment on how well behaved they were. Tonight we were expecting glares, tomatoes thrown…our worse… Our boys were so crazy!

Now let me tell you, we run our home not much unlike the military, afterall, there are SEVEN of them and only two of us. We are fully aware that our children are fantastic human beings and that they are normally super well behaved. We ARE aware of this. I promise.

So anyways. After first things went great. We had all ordered and were waiting for food. Our waitress disappeared and didn’t come back for a long time and therefore we were unable to ask for our cops and salsa. Well Squirt and Echo, seated next to each other were bored. Squirt decided to keep shoving his menu into Echo’s area causing Echo to get mad at Squirt. The madder Echo got the happier Squirt got. Finally Radar stepped in and out an abrupt stop to their “game”. Now because of Squirt’s hearing loss he can’t hear a whole lot so he and Echo screech at each other. The decided that while we waited for our food was a great time to start this up.

Finally our food comes out and we are happily eating. Well Squirt decides that silverware is not longer an item he knows how to operate. He proceeds to eat like a cow…literate eating it off his plate, spotting it out, and then eating it off his plate again. IT.WAS.DISGUSTING. NO JOKE! Radar makes him stop but at this point Echo finds it hysterical! Luckily he’s old enough to know better and he did not join Squirt.

So despite that, two people, the manager and several waitresses commented on how well behaved they were. I about asked them if we had been watching the same kids as me but smiled and thanked them instead. One of the ladies that approached me asked if they were all mine and for a brief second I almost claimed they were my neighbors kids! Almost! On the way home Radar informed me we were never going out to eat again. I couldn’t help but laughing at how comical the entire scene was to somebody else.